The Last Letter Of The Astronaut Poem by Javier Campos

The Last Letter Of The Astronaut

I will always be the swallow who returns in flames
The one who lives locked up in this ship of forgetting
Who needs to fly in the forest of your house
And from there to emigrate dejected to the garden on the moon
To flutter, lost in the sun’s lakes
To sleep miserable in the frozen volcanoes of Venus

I know I'll never remain beside your nest
I was never born in a tree
Not in any forest on this planet
I lived hidden during the daytime
On the only lifeless branch in your garden
And swam drowsy in the night
Under the waters of a neon lake

That's why I fly faster than light
And why I vanish from your side without wishing to
I departed from your very love
A luminous, demented bird
But no chains tie me to your possessive kisses

Jails don't exist I don’t flee from
Or deserts where I never find cities
Or sealed-up houses where I never want to live

I'm burning up for love of you
Though I die in the bonfires among your vines
I rise up from those amorous ashes
To be again a mournful swallow
A white chunk of the tipsy moon
That whizzes past your eyes over and over again

I’m the smitten letter-carrier who doesn’t want to deliver anything to you
A pet bird who flies with a white cane
A wild animal no one claims
Who’s lost singing in a fairy-tale forest
Who migrates through dreams seeking doorways
And inquires after forgotten train stations

Don’t follow me, I’m the one who’s really looking for you
I’m the one who spies on you through the window as you undress
The one who wants to dance with you and hide with you
In the warm wheat in granaries of the full moon

At night when the drunken astronauts
Climb down from their space ships
And weep looking at the moon
In a desperate search for their home star
I only want climb in your window and sleep with you
And let you dream that I’m the invalid swallow
Beating against your windowpane

You’ll gain nothing by making yourself a wolf
Going out into the forest to catch me when you do wake up
You’ll never see the tree where I think about you
Never my tracks will you find my trail

But I so want for you to find me
Somewhere in this Universe
You’ll follow me as though I were your outlaw lover
I want you to be nailing posters
On all the trees
And you’ll write on them that you want me dead or alive

I’m condemned to follow you unwilling
I’ll always be the swallow that dreams about being far away from you
Who wants only to hide out in your house
As though he could then open a window on another planet
And fly enchanted through a movie in technicolor
Where I see mountains and trees to sing for
Or I’d wait for a train to another world
Board a space ship without luggage
And leave forever without ever saying goodbye to you

I also know I haven’t gone anywhere
The ship where I still live
Always travels backwards
Moving quick through country I lived in years ago
Where I don’t recognize anything of mine
It’s there I see myself tied up
To the most beautiful tree of all my possessions
Besieged by an army of death
Like any lost bird
In the forests and the invisible meadows of nostalgia
Condemned to sing to you forever
Only about dreams of the future.

(Translated from Spanish by Nick W. Hill)

Javier Campos

Javier Campos

Chile, now in USA
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