- [It cracks and finally breaks], and [There’s a vague feeling of error in the air], and [My name is not the name of a flower]
[It cracks and finally breaks]
It cracks and finally breaks, the plate that contains me, the plate where I retreat each night, the plate that I am, the plate where I offer myself for others to eat. It cracks and finally breaks, the word plate, which used to contain the word I, which used to contain the word you (look what a scattering of letters, as if the dictionary had broken as well). I’m sure I am dead long before I contemplate my body lying on the ground. Who has let me slip through their hands like a soapy, porcelain tray? To die this way, like a shattered plate. And to contemplate the soul, lukewarm as soup, on the silent tiles. [End Page 104]
[There’s a vague feeling of error in the air]
There’s a vague feeling of error in the air, as if something were wrong, nearby or faraway, very soon or much later. Perhaps it’s a mere syllable that has slipped imperceptibly from its meaning, an articulated joint that hurts after so much walking to get nowhere, the disquietude of the word that is lost to us, skewed by a gap in our memory. A vague feeling, a splinter at the base of our vocal cords, in between yes and no. [End Page 105]
[My name is not the name of a flower]
My name is not the name of a flower. Nor is it venerated any day of the year. It doesn’t allow for tender diminutives that invite pronouncing it in hushed tones, like a string of sugar candy for the ear. It doesn’t come from a word dignified by the passage of centuries. It doesn’t begin with any of the known letters, nor with any of the unknown ones. My name, nomad of names.
—from The Book of Minutes translated from the Catalan by Sharon Dolin [End Page 106]
Gemma Gorga has published six collections of poetry. The prose poems published here, from Libre dels minuts (Book of Minutes, Barcelona, 2006), were awarded the Premi Miquel de Palol and appeared in a Catalan-Spanish bilingual edition (Libro de los minutos y otros poemas, Valencia, 2009, trans. V. Berenguer). She teaches at the University of Barcelona.
Sharon Dolin is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016), Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2015 reissue), Whirlwind (Pittsburgh, 2012), and Burn and Dodge (Pittsburgh, 2008), which received the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Dolin directs Writing About Art, an international workshop in Barcelona.