Farther away the closer it gets,
time outwits science.
This fossil is how many millions of years old?
The same age as my pain.
Love laughs at swagger,
men sleepless over their calculators.
The invisible enemy decks himself out
to keep me from saying what makes me eternal:
O world! I’ve loved you ever since
the unrebellious angels came on the job.
To save myself from notions leading nowhere
I say: I adore You.
Knees on the earth, I adore You,
O gold-bearing mustard seed,
tiny heart in the entrails of minerals.
In mud, feces, and suspicious secretions
I adore You, I love You above all things.
Translated from the Brazilian Portuguese by Ellen Doré Watson
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.