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Childhood and Death

ISSUE:  Winter 1980

To find my childhood. My God! Empty pigeon coops.
I ate rotten oranges and old pieces of paper.
And I found my small body eaten by the rats,
at the bottom of the cistern, with the long lank hair of the
My sailor’s suit
was soaked with no whale blubber,
but it showed the vulnerable eternity of photographs.
Drowned, yes, quite drowned. Sleep my little son, sleep.
A defeated child at school and in the waltz of the wounded
frightened by the dark dawn of hair on his thighs,
agonizing with his own man who chewed tobacco down in his
  sinister side.
I hear a dry river full of tin fruit cans
where the sewers sing and they throw in shirts full of blood,
a river of rotted cats pretending to be corolas and anemones
to trick the moon into leaning on them sweetly.
Here alone with my drowned boy.
Here alone with a breeze of cold moss and tin can tops.
Here alone I see they have locked me out.
They have locked me out and there is a group of dead
playing hit the bull’s-eye and another group of the dead
searching through the kitchen for melon rinds,
and one solitary, blue, inexplicably dead boy
searching for me along the stairways, reaching his hands into
  the cistern
while the stars fill the locks of the cathedrals with ashes

and all the people suddenly find themselves with all their suits
  too short.
To find my childhood. My God!
I ate squashed lemons, stables, faded newspapers.
But my childhood was a rat fleeing through the darkest
a satisfied rat wet with simple water,
a rat for assaulting the largest warehouse
who carried a golden bier in his tiny teeth
in a piano store violently assaulted by the moon.


Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by Alien Josephs



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