cat on the shoulder
when this cat chooses
the secret irradiation of your sadness
its fur saves you from yourself.
afterwards it returns to the attic,
meekly bearing the electricity of your sorrow,
the current of the no that through
your blood says no to the things of this day.
afterwards you hear it crying behind the door
and it hurts you to think — oh, it's just him.
Translated from the Spanish by Chris Michalski
Alvaro Garcia was born in Malaga Spain, in 1964, and is among the most important poets of his generation. His work has been awarded such prizes as Premio Hiperon, and featured in anthologies of Spanish poetry, including Fin de siglo, Los cuarenta principales and Juan Ballesta's Poesia espanola receinte. His latest volume, Caida (Falling), was made a finalist for the 2003 Premio de Nacional de Poesia, the most prestigious award for poetry in Spain.
Chris Michalski's poems and translations appear in various North American and international journals, including Puerto del Sol The Spoon River Poetry Review and Poetry International. His first film, The Bridge, premiered last summer in Germany.
Copyright 2005© Alvaro Garcia