Andrés Rodríguez
Invocation to the Lost City

Here the sky rained.
It slips among plants.
The poet and the lilies know the ceremony.
See them grow in its beauty.
See them name the song and stir up the dream.

For dancing, the air.
Butterflies for music.
Here the rare mixture,
the vessels. There, the gods.
Here the light of entrancing time.
There, the journeys.
And when the lost ones return,
the trees will be left the forest.

I have read the book of days.
Stones of divination!
I find the invocation.
I will purify myself with smoking rock
before which the sun appears.

Ready to fly,
the night heron arrives in my hands.
It builds nests, unable to stop itself.
The dawn rises slowly, slowly, slowly,
in step with loss that led astray the notion.
The dawn rises slowly—
goldfish submerged in time
that sails, sails,
and makes rings of space.

Seeker of amulets,
I travel to the sea and dissolve in its shores.
I bring snails to paint green twilights.
The quetzal appears.
I see granules. Their voice, which is not their voice,
directs me, speaks to me, watches me.
I almost understand them.
I want to make rivers and roads,
and it’s the spume that arrives to lose the vision with its veil.
And I cry with eyes drowned in stones.
It’s when something of light without light arrives
that I leave the stones bit by bit.
I gouge out my eyes to be able to see
inside, at the depths of myself, into the past.

Subterranean City, sun of my eyes,
let it seem that we are alone.
The quetzal now is lost.
Everything is dark if you keep sinking,
if you move away without asking yourself something,
without letting me speak of your healers
who found the voice to the word,
without letting me see the old workshops of wood and jade
that rule the stone and fire of the day.
Your maidens threading the dawn
in each wild flower.

Subterranean City, let me find the sacred well,
the bluest priest painting omens and mysteries.
Let me see the air where the games were played.
I want blazing drummers atop land tortoises.
The mad diviner is necessary here,
he who made pyramids, calendars, and days
in a century painted with memory.

Subterranean City, let me find the rite,
the fire made of stones, the mosaic of plumes.
All the testimonies that brought me to you!

Subterranean City,
I will drench myself with smoking rock
and wait for you alone.
If you hide, no one can find you.

We’ve arrived here
fallen, in a tumult,
waiting to say what you signify to us,
waiting to say what time doesn’t say.

We wait for you, City, to say what we could not,
to bring what we have not found.
We wait for you, with this wounded light.

Translation by Andrés Rodríguez