Pedro Poitevin



A mathematician by profession, Pedro Poitevin is a bilingual poet and translator originally from Guatemala. He received the 2021 Juana Goergen Poetry Prize for his poem "Sueño de la cercanía". He is a contributor to Letras Libres and Periódico de Poesía, the poetry journal of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). Poems in English have appeared in Rattle, River Styx, Angle, Think, and Nashville Review, among other venues. His latest book of poems, Letras Griegas, has appeared in México this year. Another book of poems, Ícaro Hace Piruetas en las Nubes, is set to appear later this year in Argentina.



HISTORIA DE AMOR

“El amor nace del deseo repentino de hacer eterno lo pasajero.”

Ramón Gómez de la Serna

Nace en el vaho tibio en la ventana,

en el rubor rasgado del cerillo,

en la crepitación de la mañana

que vuela azul y abrasa en amarillo.


Madura en estaciones desoladas,

en la recolección de nuestros muertos,

en la promesa de otras alboradas,

en los abrazos en los aeropuertos.


Rendido a la rutina y sus vaivenes,

envejece buscando su destino

a la velocidad con que los trenes

repiten su trayecto vespertino.


Un soplo tibio en el más frío enero,

el amor muere eterno pasajero.


LOVE STORY

“Love stems from the sudden urge to make permanent what is temporary.”

Ramón Gómez de la Serna


It springs from mystery like window dew.

It glows in the abrasion of a match.

It fills the chirring morning with its scratch

of yellow, red, and orange against blue.


It comes of age in stations roamed by ghosts;

in photographs we hang to mourn our dead;

in promises of better days ahead;

in airport corridors and farewell toasts.


Surrendered to routine with its slow swell,

it ripens, cruising through the widest plains

as absentmindedly as outbound trains

tracing again the tracks they know too well.


Then one cold January night, a cough,

and Love, eternal passenger, steps off.


Translated by the author


SONETO SOBRE SÍ MISMO

Hay, en este soneto isabelino,

una decena justa de oraciones.

Una dice que todas tienen tino.

Y otra te pide a ti que lo inspecciones.


Este soneto consta de noventa

palabras, ni una menos, ni una más.

Con ellas se describe y documenta.

Si lo buscas, lector, lo probarás.


Consta, en cuanto al total de letras, esto,

de trescientas ochenta, solamente.

Entre todas, la “e” es –por supuesto

seguida de la “a”– la más frecuente.


No hay cosa alguna falsa en esta hoja.

Mas algo sabe en ella a paradoja.




SONNET ABOUT ITSELF

This sonnet has ten sentences in all.

(Just three of them are in parentheses.)

It bids you, reader: "Reader, be a doll,

and verify the truth of each of these.”

This has exactly ninety-seven words.

(The ones that show up most are "the" and "this.")

It says about its words: "Not quite two-thirds

occur before the word analysis.”

This is four hundred twenty letters long.

(The one that shows up most is letter e.)

It comments on itself: "Nothing is wrong

with my self-referentiality."

Yet even after checking every box,

this sonnet has a hint of paradox.


Translated by the author



I FEEL THE MEMORY OF WRITING YOU

I feel the memory of writing you

beginning to carve out its riverbed

deep in the shadow of my passing through.


How after scanning you beneath, I flew

a little lower; how I turned my head:

I feel the memory of writing you,


my labyrinthine road I had no clue

how to begin or end before I read—

deep in the shadow of my passing through—


the story I demanded to be true.

In each one of the knots along the thread,

I feel the memory of writing you.


The moment when I felt your pulse, I knew.

And as you slowly found your form, I shed—

deep in the shadow of my passing through—


a love song to the love song that you drew

with words I’d say to words I hadn’t said.

I feel the memory of writing you

deep in the shadow of my passing through.



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