Rolando Kattan - SOMEONE BESIDE ME READS A BOOK IN MANDARIN

someone beside me reads a book in Mandarin
the words fall like rain on his hands
and his open palms fill with water
like hands reaching into rivers
the man beside me drinks water from a book
and his face lights up like the saints
what could be written there for I can feel its dampness without reading
what book is this
where words don’t flee the page like in mine
could it be that what’s written there is never forgotten,
but lingers in memory for so long,
like a river rising and then raining
the water´s breeze as it falls on his hands,
is it poetry?

Translated by Katherine M. Hedeen