Summer 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2003 |

The City from a Distance

Translated from the Spanish.    In the splendor of a summer noon the boat was headed downriver toward San Juan. Along the riverbanks cicadas sang among the poplar and chestnut branches, and the water, a cloudy clay-pink color, folded lazily back over the iridescent wake. In the heavy heat of the air, the way the water gently rocked the boat felt good, carrying us lightly along, bodies without desire, souls without a care. The village was on the slope of a little hill. The white houses, the green railings, were below, and along the trail going up, its steepness eased by steps and leveled landings, the dust gleamed beneath the silvery shadow of the olive trees. Above was the church, and inside it, in back, on the other side of the darkness, you could glimpse the garden: a gallery covered with a green bower that the light tinged with a shimmering golden glow. As you went outside, onto the slope of the terrace, the expanse of lowland appeared, the earth whose warm tones

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