A Man And A Woman

by Roberto Fern√°ndez Retamar

Who must there be?
A man and a woman.
–Tirso

If a man and a woman happen down the streets that no one else notices,
Back streets where night is about to fall and the wind is rising,
The landscape beyond both new and old, more like music than landscape;
If a man and a woman cause trees to spring up in their step,
And walls to burst into flame,
And make heads turn as if surprised by the sudden blast of a trumpet
Or the gaudy colors of a circus parade;
If when a man and a woman approach the neighborhood chatter falls silent,
The sidewalk rocking chairs cease their rocking, corner keychains no longer swing
And tired breath becomes a sigh,
It is because love so rarely passes by that to see it
Brings wonder, shock, astonishment, nostalgia
As if one heard a language perhaps once known
Which the tongue scarcely remembers
Except as whispers and the remains of whispers?

Translated by Mark Weiss

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