Translated from the Spanish by Gonzalo Melchor


 
When I come to Madrid

the cockroaches in my house complain because I read at night.
The light does not encourage them to leave their hiding places,
and so they lose the chance to crawl around my room,
the place towards which
– for obscure reasons –
they feel an irresistible attraction.
Now they talk of filing a written complaint to the president of the republic,
and I wonder:
what country do they think they live in?
these cockroaches don’t read the papers.

What they like is for me to get drunk
and dance tangos till the small hours,
so they may carry out
their constant and senseless prowling, risk free, in the dark
along the wide tiles of my bedroom.

Sometimes I oblige them,
not because I care about their wishes,
but because I feel an irresistible attraction –
for obscure reasons –
towards some badly-lit places
where I can linger with no conscious plan
until the sunrise announces a new day.

Back home,
when I run into their small bodies on the hallway fleeing
with clumsiness and fear
into the gloomy cracks where they nest,
I wish them goodnight unseasonably
– but from the heart, sincerely –
recognizing in me their uncertainty,
their inopportuneness,
their photophobia,
and many other tendencies and attitudes
which – I’m sorry to say –
don’t speak much in favour of those orthopterans.

 

Photograph by tatatquax

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