Song of the Mountain Maiden
(translated from a recently discovered poem by Pablo Neruda)

 

When you turned at the cry of a hawk,
I longed to eat the edges of your ears,
like pasta shells without sauce, without even
a dusting of cheese. And when you squinted
at the light on El Retiro, my tongue prepared itself
to clean one side of your cheeks
and then the other, until the small hairs
on your beautiful chin lay down.
I’m on my way around your face:
eyes like two sides of a new escudo,
nose like a snow flower,
locks like the straw in my uncle’s rookery.
I have just noticed the stones of your toes,
the thick marble dowels of your lower legs,
and back away into the hungry night,
knowing you are worth a second poem.