- Lament for Mrs. Mones
for Roberto Méndez
Beneath the only red poplar growingin Hart Island's indigent cemeteryRita Serrano tremblesIn her fine handsthat have made more than one man happyshe crushes the evening papereveryone has read in New York CityConrado Monesof Cuban origincommitted suicide by entering the bear cagein Central Park ZooShe is not dressed in blackas those from Artemisa—in her place—would beShe wears tight blue jeanswhite sweater and tennis shoeslike the picture on the front pageConrado Mones—29 years old—was not crazy or homeless or criminalHe was an unemployedbiology professorThe crude autumn of '82envelops her shakes her almost undresses herso she won't forget the wordsher husband saidto the bear keeperIt's always the sameI have no futureWe need to get closer to the animals [End Page 118] I at least try to show I love themBeneath the only red poplar growingin Hart Island's indigent cemeteryRita Serrano criesAnd from her fine handsthat have made many men sufferhas fallenthe evening paper New York City's fogAnd no oneno one aroundso far from Artemisacan console her [End Page 119]
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez was born in Havana, Cuba. Many of his eighteen books of poetry have received awards, including the David Prize (Cuba), Plural Prize (Mexico), EDUCA Prize (Costa Rica), and, in Spain, the Renacimiento Prize, Fray Luis de León Prize, Leonor Prize, and Rincón de la Victoria Prize. His poetry collection in English is The Infinite's Ash, translated by Katherine M. Hedeen.
Katherine M. Hedeen is a translator, critic, and essayist. A specialist in Latin American poetry, she has translated books by Jorgenrique Adoum, Juan Bañuelos, and Juan Gelman, among others. She has been a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award and is a recipient of two NEA translation fellowships and a PEN translation award in the UK. She is associate editor for Action Books and the poetry-in-translation editor at Kenyon Review.