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from the October 2007 issue

Sun in an Empty Room, 1963

In this bedroom devoid of furniture
and unpolluted the action is set.
It is filled with sunlight admitted
by the window and my footsteps resound
as if someone were walking with me.
I stand up straight, my eyes intent
on something (on what is clearly
unimportant). Floating in the nuptial
glow of afternoon (the sun already waning)
I noted the presence of a shadow,
a pulse, a breath. It's just me:
tending to be invisible,
I rediscover myself and leave a sign.

The bareness of this space, cut straight
down by the light that comes delineated
from outside, is the bareness of life.

Which is strange. If you had
seen it before, with the torches of desire
ablaze so many times, the hopes
and dreams, the satisfactions
and chiaroscuro of captivating people . . .
Later, without your noticing the pain,
life gets bogged down by deaf ears,
the highs and lows, monotony.
Suddenly, they evict you, or you leave,
and the new landlady is emptiness.
All the same, I'm not moving very far.
No matter where you go, you never find
the way out of the labyrinth.

Translation of "Sun in an Empty Room, 1963." First published in Edward Hopper, 2006. Copyright Ernest Farrés. Translation copyright 2007 by Lawrence Venuti. All rights reserved.

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