Estoy fatal / Francisco Pérez Perdomo

I’m Deathly Ill

“I’m deathly ill,”
the old woman was saying to me
curled up into a ball
huddling in her cot,
in her cave,
in her rat’s nest,
she looked like a wreck,
like rubble speaking
through the darkness of the room,
in her lodgings
with filthy and cracked walls,
with holes that opened into eternity;
she was stirring in bed,
breathing with a whistling noise,
she had returned
from her remote time
to a fetal life,
to the origins of the world
and from the nearby cemetery
sharp and hollow voices were calling her
in their language of shadow and sobbing,
they were summoning her
to their secret houses,
their sighing houses
in the countryside and the rain
and the windstorms
that never ceased
blowing through the streets,
and there she was on the cot
knocked down by the years,
circling her memories,
parched, cracked
like the earth
that sustained the longevity
of her naked steps,
her bare feet,
rough, breaking thorns
and leaving a trail
along the dry and crumbled bushes;
a confusing call
from the depths of the town
was crawling to her ears
with an aureole of death,
it was plunging her into sleep
and a decayed horseman with no head
above his skin and bones
was riding a yellow steed.

Ceremonias (1976)

{ Francisco Pérez Perdomo, El hilo equívoco de los vocablos. Antología poética, Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores, 2014 }

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