“In the symbolic narrative of this haunting poem, ‘Doppelganger,’ the speaker is sent packing by solitude and discovers an unexpected fascination and commitment to nurture an ‘egg,’ the one thing left after everything else has been stripped away. In this spare translation, Raquel Salas Rivera uses a series of simple declarative statements to keep the mystery propulsive and alive.” —Arthur Sze
I did not come to solitude
she packed my suitcase and said go.
She put an egg in my suitcase
she put leavening in my suitcase
she put salt in my suitcase
flour, sugar, and warm water.
I came to my mother’s house to sleep for days.
I closed all the doors.
I took off my clothes, my watches.
I left the suitcase on the floor unopened.
with my eyes I rummage through the things I brought.
They have taken everything.
All that’s left is the egg, there, intact
beside the bed
and, when facing the mirror,
I feel strangely committed to its care.
© Xavier Valcárcel. Translation © 2022 Raquel Salas Rivera. All rights reserved.