João Luís Barreto Guimarães - STORY OF AN AFTERNOON

to Sousa Dias
To extract meaning is our primary task.

There is
a glimmer of afternoon yet to be resolved.
It is certain not to last (oblivion
awaits it) only what is necessary until
nightfall. This light lags a bit
before they close the beach
(a millisecond to forget
go back again). Not much remains I know
(only momentless instances) that speck
that separates memory from
illusion. I seek the ineffable in the afternoon’s density—
if I don’t preserve this intersected hour in a poem
neither it nor this afternoon will exist in
any form at all.

Translated by Calvin Olsen