a love poem for a northerner

by Silvia Oviedo

Bespectacled you
Come to me with that sparking
Dual destiny one shall not deny or renounce.
Elitist, your music evolving as steadily through my ears as through the landscape of vit
you call eternal
Your forehead I have learned to love indistinctively in spite—or because—of the force of
the years,
Gradually slipping into this conglomerate of consciousness we have glued together:
How did this happen, alhaja
How did my tongue become heavier and how did my words learn to lift
themselves from the haze?
Ay, something I have yet to learn is how to read into your advances, requiring
Just the right amount of justification,
Key to the strange ways of our perpendicular hearts.
Let them liaise till they find the light, or the love, or the language,
Min skäraste: [thus I start my letters].
The notion of naming us in any vernacular I pick: nosotros, digo, nuestro, digo, nous.
Cariño, I tell you and I say cosas ñoñas and anchor myself to the tongue that is mine
when feelings burn: yo también llevo la pena dentro.
Pursuing the curves of your lips, plump like the curves on a map when there is a plosive
Quaint, your mouth a quiverful of harsh echoing arrows,
Rivers crossing the plain, crossing the lines I write when my hand rattles.
Surprisingly, your own name is my svenska shibboleth,
Traversing that landscape of thistled terrains, my mouth, a trujumana,
Unequivocally calling u, u, u.
Victory is the achievement of unpreoccupied learners I say, now verbalizing the insides
with the appropriate volume, out of the vortex leading to the vocabulary vacuum of the
uninitiated. [Also, the notion of naming us in the languages of your side: vi, vi, vi]
You told me that there is ingen w in your mother tongue, holding my left hand (me, an
untranslatable wishful wench — how would you call ‘you and i’, then?).
Extraño, I say about the lack of letters in your alphabet, the overflow of extravagant
dots. Extraño, digo when I miss my homeland but:
Why don’t I recognize that my home are our languages?
Zeugmas, both in language and love, that is what we are, zalamero.


Och under allt detta pågår febern, och pennar löper, löper rätt fram…
[August Strindberg]


Silvia Oviedo is a translator and writer originally from Spain. She has been based in San Francisco for the last 6 years, after some time in Madrid and Berlin. Silvia received her MA in Translation from Universidad Complutense. Her writing has appeared in several journals, collections and live events in Spain, Mexico and the US (El Perro, El Salón Barney, La manera de recogerse el pelo, SXO, among others), and she has been the recipient of the ‘Ciudad de Aranjuez Young Poets Prize’ in 2006, and selected by Jack Hirschman for the 2016 San Francisco Poets 11 group.

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