The Animal Hungers

by

Fifth Estate # 401, Summer 2018

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

The animal hungers
for light and strength
He hungers
.
Killing himself while hunting
Groaning
fatally and the last
.
Hunger springs
Sleepless
.
There are beasts without burden
that dance / grow fiery
They warily drink water
.
Famine distorts
Tea or sugar or bread
or fuel
or a tender hand?
.
The animal hungers
for goodness
.
The famished grow fat
leaving scraps for neither him
nor her
who remained with her cubs
.
The animal hungers
Tramps through trenches
.
up slopes
Sets out
.
He rears up on both paws and ransacks a beehive
Spreads his wings and throws himself from a cliff
.
The animal hungers
when he moves with the flock
or sells his lungs, his eyes
his goodness, his fury
hangs from meat hooks
.
There is no slaughterer without slaughterhouses
there is a journal. a story. a bus
.
and the barrio where he who writes grew up
.
There are massacres
.
Slaughterers dressed as generals in plastic aprons
or doctors in white coats
the chemists the priests enrobed
.
Or gold buttons / stripes
or suits
Bare-chested
or sweaty
.
When the animal hungers
Everything trembles
Books crumble
The earth quakes
.
Autumn flowers bloom in the garden
In the gazebo unreal and necessary
the breeze rushes
people stroll by
.
Home is one
who smokes sitting in the patio of his house
or in a hotel
or silently waits in the corner of his
infancy
or lingers outside
until they open the door
.
Hunger squeezes through crevices
Cuts grooves
Breathes
Climbs fences
Feeds
.
But the animal doesn’t wait
grows weak or devours
He is hungry
and cold
.
He doesn’t know how to live
with pain and anguish
but tries
.
He prepares tea / bathes
or doesn’t
.
He has had enough
.
Slurps
Dips his bread
.
Sits still a moment

Jesús Sepúlveda teaches at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He is the author of eight collections of poetry and three books of essays, including his green-anarchist manifesto, The Garden of Peculiarities, and his book on Latin American poetry, Poets on the Edge.

Translated from Spanish by Bill Rankin

Share this on... Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail