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The child who knelt before the wooden
altar painted without passion
finishes his prayers
_______________  and gets up cramped
what shakes the skies?

Miserable skies that
_______________   spill their dregs
while I take refuge under the eaves
of God’s house
____________   and that don’t clear up

I don’t drink you from the chalice
that the drunken priest
__________________  _feverishly
holds out to me
I drink you in the goblet of the trees

And what is this prayer for?
Salvation of the man
________________  _now forever sober
who yesterday offered us a beer?
No one prays for you

From one kneeling to another who stands
from the monks who loudly sing
to one who doesn’t know how to cross himself
trapped between two suns
___________________    _Devotion and fear

Lying in state
____________I attend Mass
Afternoon of three graves
—congestion in the traffic of souls
This rhythm is the mask of pain


Translated from the Spanish by Jerry Harp

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