They were a horse perhaps

Language: Spanish 
Poet: Dionisio Cañas 
Translator: Orlando Hernández

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They were a horse perhaps

A poem by Dionisio Cañas translated by Orlando Hernández

Dionisio Cañas was born in Tomelloso (Ciudad Real, Spain) in 1949. He lived for many years in New York City, where he was a tenured professor of Hispanoamerican Literature at Baruch College. He has published dozens of books of poetry and essays, most recently Los libros suicidas (Horizonte árabe). With Juan Ugalde and Patricia Gadea, he founded the art collective Estrujenbank. He lives in La Mancha.
Orlando Hernández is a writer and tap dancer from Hoboken, New Jersey. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in FenceNew American WritingPRISM internationalThe New Haven Review, and Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños: Letras. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Caballo ahogado en un lago

Fueron un caballo quizás aquellos huesos
bruñidos por el barro y así restituidos
por la fuerza feroz de la lluvia en primavera
Bien pudimos haber pensado que era el azar
pero fue cierto designio tentación o tortura
que crecía tenaz entre nosotros
Era el lago un espacio entregado al silencio
sólo surcado por el bulto de algún ave
red mortal para un caballo en su carrera
y para nosotros turbio espejo donde mirar el tiempo
Fuimos así el reverso de una escena de caza
donde un caballo huía
perseguido por su sombra
y atrapado quedaba por las aguas
Vimos su cadáver alzado sobre un espeso cielo
y corrimos perseguidos por el miedo
de sentirnos desposeídos de repente
de aquel amor que hoy estamos reescribiendo.

Horse Drowned in a Lake

They were a horse perhaps, those bones
burnished by the mud and in that way restored
by spring rain’s fierce force
We could have easily thought it was chance
but it was a certain design, temptation, or torture
that was growing between us
The lake was a space handed over to silence
furrowed only by the swell of a single bird
fatal net, for a horse in its step and for us
a muddy mirror we watched time in
So were we a chase scene, reversed
in which a horse fled
pursued by its shadow
and stayed snared in the waters
We saw its corpse raised over a thick sky
and we ran, pursued by fear
of feeling suddenly stripped
of the love that today we’re rewriting.