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from the March 2021 issue

This, I Don’t Know

Causality and chance collide in this poem by Samuel Solleiro.

So, there are a lot of things you can’t see, like evil or vitamins. Other things you can: love, which is like bearing a giant heart emoji on your back. It’s just so embarrassing. What does it matter if we believe in it or not, it rules our lives one way or the other, and we’re more or less ok with it. Later, when it gets dark, I’ll get back to thinking that the days seem to drag on, or that they might not be leading to one final day; it’s hard to say with days. But we’re all still here. These are the years directly preceding the onset of vulnerability: the epic ass-kicking, the cracking of the whip. We pretend that everything leaves us feeling vaguely indifferent. The computer where I work, bloody hunk of my body that it is. That’s how the universe works, without signifieds: somewhere a bird is walking, I don’t know. A planet explodes. A thing happens and we don’t know exactly what will happen next, nor exactly when, nor even if anything is actually going to happen. The end result is always something sad and outsized. But you know, all the times I didn’t love you enough, it was because I was writing this. A book. This, I don’t know. There are lot of things you can’t see, others you can, and then there’s the largely uncharted world of things that can only be heard, which are, in order of intensity: a jackhammer, the neighbors’ conversation, an asthmatic wheeze, a fly on the window, and the noise of thought.  

Originally published as "Isto, non sei" © Samuel Solleiro. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2021 by Neil Anderson. All rights reserved.

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