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from the March 2010 issue

Worth It (A Thursday Telephonically)

Sad is he who for love has never lost a home.
        Joan Margarit

Around ten I call you
to say I have ten calls,
another meeting, six letters,
a packed morning, various appointments
and I miss you.
The phone holds rumors of a sunken ship,
bubbles and silences.

Around twelve-thirty
you call to tell me about your calls,
how your work is going,
brief me on the businesses
that you run with your ex-husband,
you must without fail get the shopping done
and you miss me.
The phone wants foamy beer,
although no, the morning isn’t lovely or golden.

Around four-thirty
your siesta communicates. You call me at six to say
that you are rushing out the door,
that your son is staying at a friend’s house,
that it’s all so boring, but at seven
you have to be who knows where,
and at eight you are expected
at a presentation by whoever
and later you are obliged to suffer dinner and drinks
with some friends.
If it’s not too late
you’ll call me at home when you get in.

And it’s not too late.
Around two-thirty I assure you
that you didn’t wake me.
The phone seeks lighted windows
on deserted streets
and I happily listen to news of your evening,
gossip from the literary world,
that your happiness is palpable,
that all you do is talk constantly about me
with everyone you see.

You don’t know love if you haven’t lost
for love, your home, a daughter perhaps
and more than half of your salary,
devoting yourself to the art of being happy and fair,
on the other end of your voice
south of telephone frontiers.

Translation of  "Merece la pena (Un jueves telefónico)."  Copyright Luis Garcia Montero. By arrangement with Tusquets Editores. Translation copyright 2010 Katie King. All rights reserved.


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