No wonder she came over queer.
In that pox-ridden, clap-ridden den,
only the breeze of a ceiling-fan
and a palm-leaf to stir the air.
Everything stifled in there:
thick, heavy vapour, spice-laden,
smoke haze, soft glances through hair,
jalousies, style half-Persian,
half wild Paraguay,
with a parrot’s cry.
The tragedy’s summarization
of dull and prosaic stagnation.
And plumb-centre in the mosaic,
the muse gone inert, apoplectic.
Translated by Anna Crowe