let it be hard and bloody

Standard

If I’m to Live
Julio Cortázar

If I’m to live without you, let it be hard and bloody,
cold soup, broken shoes, or in the midst of opulence
let the dry branch of a cough jerk through me, barking
your twisted name, the foaming vowels, and let the bedsheets
stick to my fingers, and nothing give me peace.
I won’t learn to love you any better this way,
but abandoned by happiness
I’ll know how much you gave me just by sometimes being around.
I think I understand this, but I’m kidding myself:
there’ll need to be frost on the lintel
so the one taking shelter in the vestibule feels
the light in the dining room, the milky tablecloths, and the smell
of bread passing its brown hand through the crack.

As far apart from you
as one eye from the other,
out of this affliction I’ve taken on
will be born the gaze that deserves you at last.

Original

Si he de vivir sin ti, que sea duro y cruento,
la sopa fría, los zapatos rotos,
o que en mitad de la opulencia se alce la rama seca de la tos,
ladrándome tu nombre deformado, las vocales de espuma,
y en los dedos se me peguen las sábanas, y nada me dé paz.

No aprenderé por eso a quererte mejor,
pero desalojado de la felicidad
sabré cuánta me dabas
con solamente a veces estar cerca.

Esto creo entenderlo, pero me engaño:
hará falta la escarcha del dintel
para que el guarecido en el portal
comprendala luz del comedor,
los manteles de leche,
y el aroma del pan
que pasa su morena mano por la hendija.

Tan lejos ya de ti como un ojo del otro,
de esta asumida adversidad nacerá la mirada
que por fin te merezca.

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