Ese es mi nombre / Francisco Pérez Perdomo

That’s My Name

Francisco they call me,
that’s my grace
and I am from these places,
I was born in this land
called land of clouds
one day the sixteenth of September
of nineteen thirty, amid
the trees, the forests and a wind
that often emerged
from giant vessels
and would move in circles
through the nearby plaza.
I came into the world
escorted by luminous insects,
squirrels and lizards.
A few days after my birth
some owls and serpents
kidnapped me
and hid me in a corner of the fields.
In that lapse my parents didn’t see me.
When after a short while
my kidnappers released me,
I crossed the highlands
reclining on my mother’s skirt
while she rode on horseback
a skinny and chestnut mare.
That’s how I arrived at a neighboring village.
One could say the birds abducted me
and lay me down in a new district.
My feet grew
over mountains and cliffs, tangled
in thin and ragged
weeds and a spectral
vegetation that would moan day and night
climbing up stone walls.
From time to time a very sad
ditch would bind my legs,
throw me down onto thickets
and then lull me like a sibyl.
Little by little my body grew longer
in the plateaus behind those
kites that would write in the sphere
indecipherable celestial signs
and to whose tails I would cling.
For a long time the kites were
my umbilical chord.
One day, one day their strings dragged me
in a frenzied race
over the biggest plateau.
Then I was elevated, I moved further
from the earth, and repeatedly turning
my eyes to look back,
I would watch it not without a certain start,
bewitched I would fly above the distances.
Without realizing it I became,
almost insensibly, a remote point
barely discernible in the spaces.
Many years of an adventurous and avid existence
passed in this manner.
With utmost happiness
and robed with the sky’s layers
I would have spent my entire life there
deciphering that writing
and making signs at the world
with a white lamp
at times very agitated in my hands.
I ran about the moon.
The whistle of the stars
was the magic flute that retained me
in such high places.
In my familiarity with the stars
the noises of the ground didn’t lacerate my ears.
I spoke aloud to the constellations.
I lived a fugitive exploit in a suspense
I would have liked to eternalize.
The wind would spin further below.

After several years, plunged
into the backyard of the house, atop
some cacti and broken parapets,
with ragged clothes
and toothless gums, they found,
victim of an impossible illness,
a very old and wrinkled man
who was clutching shreds
of paper to his chest
and which could have been a kite.

{ Francisco Pérez Perdomo, Los ritos secretos, Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 1988 }

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