Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

The God of Tar and Bone

By Alejandro Saravia
Translated from Spanish by María José Giménez

a man standing on the tracks
stares at a train as it advances
with a moan of metal and night

the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts
the siren wails the feverish headlight
lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest

but the man stays still before the apparatus
still ten meters left and he just stares and stares
at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him

he lacks no strength or ability
    to thrust his body to one side
he can jump run dodge save himself
    from the eruption of his flesh
from the splintered bone that will be knife of moon and scream

he has five seconds left and he doesn’t do it doesn’t jump
reality no longer touches him he no longer understands it
    it no longer touches him
because he is beyond all realism
    be it magic, infra, or dirty

he doesn’t move
the man of tar and bone


El dios de alquitrán y hueso© 2010 Alejandro Saravia. Translation © 2016 by María José Giménez. All rights reserved.

English

a man standing on the tracks
stares at a train as it advances
with a moan of metal and night

the iron moves the blind diesel thrusts
the siren wails the feverish headlight
lights up and splits the chest of the earth and forest

but the man stays still before the apparatus
still ten meters left and he just stares and stares
at the invention that will chop him split him shatter him

he lacks no strength or ability
    to thrust his body to one side
he can jump run dodge save himself
    from the eruption of his flesh
from the splintered bone that will be knife of moon and scream

he has five seconds left and he doesn’t do it doesn’t jump
reality no longer touches him he no longer understands it
    it no longer touches him
because he is beyond all realism
    be it magic, infra, or dirty

he doesn’t move
the man of tar and bone


El dios de alquitrán y hueso© 2010 Alejandro Saravia. Translation © 2016 by María José Giménez. All rights reserved.

Read Next

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]