The Soul Has No Time
The cold at night tightens our skin,
the body holds out,
but the soul has no time.
We spend the hours barely breathing
wandering in our dreams.
Someone who inhabited the house
is locked up in the atmosphere.
It is the reincarnation of love.
you had no strength in your heart.
She just wanted to sleep
and wake up to play with the animals
and play children’s games,
till the birds picked her up
and flew sowing the seed.
In the commercial street when all the men in crutches
walk together their steps sound like those of a horse.
Some have their stumps bandaged.
There are many many groceries,
itinerant vendors sell trinkets in the stalls.
They sowed mines in the fields
and innocent men step on them.
Children don’t want to play war games in Manizales;
they are afraid of taking a wrong step in some place in the park.
In the center of the city—with pretended astonishment—
my fingers do not suffice
to count the number of crippled men in one block.
I met a peasant who became a goatherd
so as not to abandon his land and stay safe,
he drove his herd through the fields in front of him.
He said that on one occasion
he only recovered the bell of one of his goats.
We traveled to the nearest neighboring country on the map.
And crossed the frontier on horseback.
The journey took us four days and we slept
on hammocks hung in the forest.
The horses eat all night
and rest standing.
To cross the two wide rivers,
we loaded our saddles and equipment in canoes
and the horses swam across the Apure and the Arauca
while I prayed for God to protect them
and keep the caimans away from them.
Our grandfather remembered that his father
related that Ramón Nonato Pérez,
comrade in arms of José Antonio Páez
who fought in Queseras del Medio,
was killed by a horse days before the battle
of Pantano de Vargas.
Because of these men the frontier
is an invisible line
and we move in the wind
traveling along the horizon
from one heart to another.
Translated by Esteban Moore