Elsa Cross

Fluvial Navigation
by Elsa Cross

translated by Susan Ayres

A banner flies on the jetty.
In the bar’s mirror
the towers slim down on the other shore.
Stripes of light in the middle of the river.
The water like a gray sheet,
a shroud.

The gaze goes from the lighthouse
to the gloom of the worn wooden floor.
Crossing the mirror, lights from the coast guard.
Its foghorn devours the music
and the tinkle of glasses put away.
Phrases like endless docks.

The heart set on its departure—
and the steps just do not arrive.

The sun, already hidden, extinguishes all reflection
on the water

—navigable in its dark ciphers.

Their crowded tumult

tumbles like the sea.

And suddenly, strange accents
—resonant birds—
in that night joining in two bodies
the sky with the earth.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 3.

Elsa Cross is a poet, critic, and professor of philosophy from Mexico City.  She has been awarded the National Prize of Arts and Literature, the highest literary prize in Mexico.   Collections of her poetry have been translated into English, French, Italian, and other languages.
Susan Ayres is a poet, lawyer, and translator.  She holds an MFA in Creative Writing with a Concentration in Translation from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a PhD in Literature from Texas Christian University.  She lives in Fort Worth and teaches at Texas A&M University School of Law.

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