Kirmen Uribe

The River
Here is a translation by Elizabeth Macklin of 'Ibaia' by Kirmen Uribe.
There was a time a river ran through here,
there where the benches and the paving start.
A dozen rivers more lie under the city
if you believe the oldest citizens.
Now it's a square in the workers' quarter,
that's all, three poplars the only sign
the river underneath keeps running.

In everyone there is a hidden river that brings floods.
If they are not fears, they are contritions.
If they are not doubts, inabilities.

The west wind has been shaking the poplars,
people barely make their way along on foot.
From her fourth-floor window an old woman
is throwing clothing out.
She's hurled a black shirt, a plaid skirt,
the yellow silk scarf and the stockings
and the black-and-white patent-leather shoes
she wore the winter day she came in from her town.
In the snow they looked like frozen lapwings.

Children have gone racing after the clothing.
The wedding dress she´s thrown out
clumsy and perched on a branch,
too heavy a bird.

We hear a loud noise. The passersby have been startled.
The wind has lifted a poplar out by its roots.
It could be an old woman's hand
awaiting a hand's caressing.

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