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from the May 2017 issue

Hand 3

It’s like a moving bud,
a five-spiked plow,
a beaten down root reinforced with claws,
a carrion bird defending life,
truly, an eagle in flight:
who watches, fearless, and waits to attack.
Impulsive like blood, brave like the spirit;
a soldier during great battles,
those that happen on sidewalks.

Everything, including life,
ends when the hands give up.
In its stubborn clasp the hand keeps
whatever time old stars have
and turns it into a burning brand
that lifts the paralyzed from the pool,
that senses in the piano’s teeth
the inner sonata we all hide.

Who is the concert’s dream for,
the cheironomia of pigeons in between the beeches?

I feel in my fingertips, like a blind man,
the workings of my soul
stealing daylight from the hours.
How not to sense
in the daily grind of our working life,
the hammering night that hovers above.

Compassionate hand,
clay molder,
caress with your dry kisses
the features of the face,
and, in closing the others’ eyes,
in touching those delicate eyelids,
offer up the sky.

Ores from red mines,
reinvigorate the hand,
the veins that knot up in a fist.
From faraway woods darkness comes,
and five fingers like five dwarves,
work from sunup to sundown,
in the underbrush of life’s work.

And they are a comet’s tail,
tiny firmaments turned inside out;
receptacles of bloody winds;
only milk falls into them,
and they capture nothing but death
across the waves of the quotidian.

 

© Juan Mari Lekuona. Translation © 2017 by Amaia Gabantxo. All rights reserved.

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