Ode with a Lament

Pablo Neruda Series, Ode with a Lament by Kerri McGill

Ode with a Lament
Oh girl among the roses, oh pressure of doves,
oh prison of fish and rosebushes,
your soul is a bottle filled with thirsty salt
and your skin a bell full of grapes.

Unfortunately I have nothing to give you save fingernails
or eyelashes, or melted pianos,
or dreams that spring gushing from my heart,
dusty dreams that run like black horsemen,

dreams filled with velocities and misfortunes. I can only love you with kisses and poppies, with garlands wet from the rain, looking at ashy horses and yellow dogs,
I can only love you with waves at my back,
between vague hits of sulfur and distracted waters,
swimming against the graveyards that flow in certain rivers
with wet grass growing over the sad plaster tombs,
swimming by submerged hearts
and pale registration lists of unburied children.

There is much death, many funereal events
in my forsaken passions and desolate kisses,
there is the water that falls on my head
while my skin grows,
a water like time, a black unchained water,
with a nocturnal voice, with the cry
of a bird in the rain, with an interminable

shadow of wet wing that protects my bones:
while I watch myself, while
interminably I look at myself in the mirrors and in the windows,
I hear someone following me, calling to me with sobs
with a sad voice rotted by time.

You stand over the earth, full

of teeth and lightning bolts.
You spread the kisses and kill the ants.
You weep of health, of onion, of bee,
of burning alphabet.
You are like a blue and green sword,
and you undulate at the touch, like a river.

Come to my soul dressed in white, with a branch
of bloody roses and cups of ashes,
come with an apple and a horse,
because there is a dark room and a broken candelabra,
some crooked chairs that wait for winter,
and a dead dove, with a number.
Pablo Neruda