We struggle to thread ourselves through a needle's eye,
face to face, hellbent on winning.                                                              *
The fourth angle of the circle ammoniafies almost.                                    *
Female is continued the male, on the basis
of probable breasts, and precisely
on the basis of how much does not flower!

           Are you that way, Venus of Milo?
You hardly act crippled, pullulating
enwombed in the plenary arms
of existence,
of this existence that neverthelessez                                                           *
perpetual imperfection.
Venus de Milo, whose cut off, increate
arm swings round and tries to elbow
across greening stuttering pebbles,
ortive nautili, recently crawling
evens, immortal on the eves of.
Lassoer of imminences, lassoer
of the parenthesis.

           Refuse, all of you, to set foot
on the double security of Harmony.
Truly refuse symmetry.
Intervene in the conflict
of points that contend
in the most rutty of jousts
for the leap through the needle's eye!

           So now I feel my little finger
moreover on my left. I see it and think
it shouldn't be me, or at least that it's
in a place where it shouldn't.
And it inspires me with rage and alarms me
and there is no way out of it, except by
pretending that today is Thursday.

Make way for the new odd number
                                    potent with orphanhood!

Notes To The Translation

a las ganadas (hellbent on winning): A northern Peruvianism.

amoniácase (ammoniafies): amoníaco (ammoniac, ammonia)
turned into a verb. While we have a verb in English (ammonify), I
do not use it, as there is none in Spanish.

todaviiza (neverthelessez): The adverb todavía (yet, still, never-
theless—and, in old Spanish, always) extended/warped into a verb.
A few lines later another adverb, aunes (evens), is treated as a plural noun.

Cesar Vallejo
translated from the Spanish by Clayton Eshleman