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from the September 2020 issue

Here in Chorrillos

In this poem, Peruvian writer Doris Moromisato contemplates love and longing in a seaside neighborhood of Lima.

Here I say again that I don’t love you
while city mist loosens the sky
dampens my geraniums.

Grounded like a gull on the terrace
I recall the sermon at Benares
and agree: suffering
lives in me.

During the festival of San Pedro the fishermen
sling their offerings to the sea
my eyes fill with rowboats
and the sprawl of petals taken by the tide
shows me how small
vastness is.
I lower my forehead, not watching
the water that keeps me from your mouth.
I shut my eyes and sink
the boats that never bring me to you.

Everything is suffering, the great Sakya teaches me
and there is no one to beg
or ask forgiveness
for this love.

Here I say again that I don’t love you
that everything is fleeting
save this suffering.

Migrating gulls on the horizon.
Loose threads of water.
The city’s mist
on my hair.

“Aquí en Chorrillos” © Doris Moromisato. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Margaret Wright. All rights reserved.

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