By Rafael Cortoisie

Translated by Anna Rosenwong

from Issue 21


Think how I am not you, so that you won’t think about me.
Look the other way
look at the ocean, look inside.
Don’t look at me. Think how it’s not true
think how at the bottom there are rocks.
Think about the rocks: that’s a good thought, solid, stable.
About rocks that seem like wishes, about the rocks of time
that seem like years. Think about the years. Don’t look in the mirror.
This is not me. It’s your memory. It’s the melody,
the music of the image that looks like you. I’m not me.
You’re not you.
It’s not anyone.
Think about the ocean’s water, about its movement, about its weight.
Think about the water and not about me, think about the thought
that comes and goes, like a mirror.
But don’t think about the mirror, take a rock
and smash the mirror, think about the hard soul of rocks
about rocks: they do miss you
in their firmness, in their happy weight
mysterious, serious: about rocks.
If the mirror breaks I’m not me, you’re not you
it’s not anyone, it’s the force
of the memory that drowns in the mirror, in the dry
water of the mirror, the force without force, the light that goes out
the ruptured mirror and me, my innocence
that tells you:
think how I am not you, don’t think about me.

Rafael Cortoisie Beyhaut is one of Uruguay’s leading writers, with work published around the world. The author of three novels, sixteen volumes of poetry, and many essays, Courtoisie has won Uruguay’s National Prizes in both Narrative and Poetry. He teaches screenwriting at the Escuela de Cine del Uruguay in Montevideo.

Anna Rosenwong Anna Rosenwong is a translator, poet, editor, and educator. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from UC Irvine. Her book-length publications include Roció Cerón’s Diorama, José Eugenio Sánchez’s Suite Prelude a/H1N1, and an original collection of poetry, By Way of Explanation. She is the translation editor of Drunken Boat. Her literary and scholarly work has been featured in World Literature Today, The Kenyon Review, Translation Studies, The St Petersburg Review, Pool, and elsewhere.

Original text: Rafael Courtoisie. “La canción del espejo,” from Música para sordos. México: Unversidad Externado de Colombia, 2009.

Comments are closed.