THE WHITE ELEPHANTS

The white elephants keep a secret
Their sharp memory registers the brilliant instant of creation

Inevitable as fire
the two coordinates intersect at any given point
A straight line is a simulacrum of the eyes
The crown is elliptical

The white elephants
hear the souls of the dead cats yowl

They know that to sing is an imaginary act
and light is only a reflection of events
Nothing seems wrong in their regard of the world
Nevertheless
they hear the yowls—the souls of dead cats

JESÚS SEPÚLVEDA

(From Hotel Marconi, translated from the Spanish by Paul Dresman)