Chilean poet Raul Zurita, reading at Notre Dame
from "The Descent"
I touch your skin, your body, and the tips of my fingers, which always used to follow yours, sense in the darkness that we are descending. They have destroyed all the bridges and the cordilleras are sinking, the Pacific is sinking, and its remains are sinking in front of us as the remains of our heart also sink. In the face of death someone said something to us about resurrection. Does that mean your empty eye sockets will see? That my fingertips will go on touching yours? My fingers touch your fingers in the darkness and go down as now the peaks, the seas, go down, as our dead love, our dead gaze, these dead words go down. Like a field of daisies that bend I touch your skin, your body, and my hands try to find in the darkness the skin of snow in which we may perhaps live again. But no, of the peaks of the Andes only the traces of these words remain, of these dead pages, of a wide, dead field of flowers where the cordilleras like white shrouds, with us beneath them and still embracing, are sinking down.
translated by William Rowe