Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gerardo Deniz


If in 1890 I discover a new simple compound in a certain Brazilian
I'll give it the name of nasturtium,
provisionally determine its atomic weight
and, treating chloride with potassium,
render it, prior leaching, in a powdered state.
Duplicating the experiment before a committee of enemies
     which the academy designates,
the nasturtium will acquire citizenship,
its position continuing to be defined:
between that of synthetic osimum and aberrant molydenum,
beneath a congratulatory shower
     --first element to reside on a Rialto bridge between two
and, suddenly, the periodic table is no longer flat, and not
     on a whim.

Does the discoverer merit the order of the terrified dragon?
Rain or thunder! And from now on we'll be
like a thick rat that formed in the sand
and lives buried there, moving little,
barely breathing, long-lived, never reading.

--Gerardo Deniz

tr. Judith Infante

in Marlboro Review,
No. 8, Summer/Fall, 1999


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