Three poems by Noni Benegas translated by Herman Asarnow

The Waiting

When you return
from not having returned
since your hardening into bone
the limestone of a frightened conch
and you come to me
as to your beach

when you shed me like cast off sand
dusty and dense
and I chew a mouthful of dune

I will ignite a bonfire to attract your eye,
I will bring forth the rain
I will be a hell
of stone and lava.

But you will not return
from not having returned

The Rope

I had a rope that reached
to the other side
                    --doesn't matter'
which, only that it stretched and tightened.

And like the fine thread that the tightrope walker
it provided neither departures nor arrivals
without a spectacle.

Passion's Map

Can autumn
be just underbrush,
a mere thread
snaking between rocks,
blurry needlework seen
through one's own eyes?

Don't I, wise pulse,
sense your vessels
growing a new grid
--passion's map--
marking the path
to my heart's core?

If I were to create autumn
that is how it would be.

Noni Benegas lives in Madrid. She is the author of Argonautica, winner of the Silver Prize of the United Nations and of La Balsa De La Medusa, winner of the National Miguel Hernandez Prize. She has edited books of literary theory and about gay-lesbian culture and has written on homosexuality in cinema.

Herman Asarnow's poems and essays appear in The Beloit Poetry Journal, South Dakota Review, The Laurel Review, The Denver Quarterly and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon.