Yolanda Castaño - LISTEN AND REPEAT: un paxaro, unha barba

The whole sky is hunched. An intransitive thirst.

Talking a foreign language
is like wearing borrowed clothes.

Helga confuses the words for land and landscape
(who would you be in another language?)

You show me
my vocal chord
is at times
off key.

In the back garden of language
It’s the prosody that snags
my dress.

I’ll tell you something about the problems with language:
there are things I just can’t wrap my mouth around.

Like when I see you sat and all I see
is a seat –
ceci n’est pas une chaise.
A camera obscura beams on the hemisphere.

Pronounce: if the poem is an exorcism,
a change of state, some humour
takes shape to escape from us.

That’s phonation, enthalpy.

But yes, you are absolutely right:
my delivery leaves
much to be desired.

(If I’m not watching your teeth
I won’t understand a word you say).

The sky shrinks. Helga smiles in italics.

And I learn the difference between a beard and a bird
– and not just what takes off
when I try to hold it
in my hands.

Translation by Keith Payne