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Words Without Borders “stands as a monument to international collaboration and a shared belief in artistic possibility.”
— 2018 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize Citation
from the April 2019 issue

From Voids

In this meditation on death, the poet tries to climb outside of language.
 

I stepped back from my death
it was strange and inhuman to me

*

and now my eyes are knives slicing the night to
                                                         split the mist

rising inside
like the tears of a poem


shedding its sadness
over the warm flight of egrets
flitting about

after the docile defeat
 

*

 

now my eyes are knives slicing the mist like a di-vi-ded body

I stepped back from my death

and rose up
clandestine
syllable by syllable
almost like the unwritten poem
and suddenly
hair tousled by days of abandon

I find your discontent
in a commonplace dress
the furled poetic fabric 
that switches the body on

to disarray


in a song without refrain
some fruit scattered

in the rush to ripen

these mineral days
I want to climb beyond the reach of words
where my death will not be
the death of others too
even if I see my sorrow in yours
and then I don’t.
 

From Vácuos © Mbate Pedro. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Sandra Tamele and Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.

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