THE OWL AND THE LARK

To Janine, the Lark

The night owl reads William Carlos Williams in Spanish
The morning lark reads an article about Pinochet in English

The owl and the lark sleep together every night of the year
They carefully prepare dinner

They dance tango / They drink coffee
They never get drunk nor smoke too much

They run four or five times a week
He quit cigarettes she quit stress

The owl gets emotional listening to Gardel
Even though he is not Argentine or a barrio pimp

The lark dances like crazy
when the stereo plays Ani di Franco (her latest CD)
She moves her arms
Sings

The owl wears black
The lark shines her shoes
There are frozen mornings when they run wearing gloves

No one knows the math
How many kilometers make 6 miles?
And how many pairs make three flies?

In this poem the owl comes first

The lark runs to the bathroom
Every morning apples fall
There are no apples on the moon

The lark makes phone calls
Runs to the supermarket / Compares prices
The owl cleans

And they work / yes they work
Hard all year long
They sleep from night until morning
Then they work

They eat bread / They drink wine
They feed themselves at dinnertime

The general makes a craft of death
Williams goes mute

The owl and the lark sleep
They run

They protect themselves from the cold
and restlessness

The night owl and the morning lark
Sometimes there are days it hurts to wake up

JESÚS SEPÚLVEDA
(From Correo negro, translated from the Spanish by author)