Would love be to the body
what contemplation is to the soul?
That stillness?
That intuition
of every thing at an instant? That bolt of lightning in which
the real is made evident
in accord with its echo?
The elusive suspension
that perceives and
comprehends everything?

Is that the pause in the flow of time
the only true home and homeland?
Home and homeland:
This is what I call to possess each other, as you look at each other and see your own reflection
in trustworthy and serene

Body of light
Body of goodness
Hyperbolic petal rowing
between one shore and the other.

And if there are not two shores?
If all is one?
If there are not two or one
but a glissando of mirrors
toward and from the light —or the mire?

Each station with its diligent demiurge
more confused than cruel
deadened, sunken
in the excess
of a kingdom he ignores and that ignores him.

Regent, prince and child —all at once,
all untimely.

And if it were nothing more
than a voyage
through the frozen ages of that prince
toward the light —or the mire?

translated from the Spanish by Anna Deeny


MERCEDES ROFFÉ is one of the most renowned contemporary Argentine poets. Widely published in the Spanish-speaking world, her books appeared in translation in Italy, France, Romania, England, Canada, Brazil, and the United States. English translations of her poetry include, Floating Lanterns, translated by Anna Deeny (UK, Shearsman, 2015), and Ghost Opera, translated by Judith Filc (US, co-im-press, 2017). In 2012, her poetry collection, La ópera fantasma, was chosen one of the best books published that year in Mexico. In 2016, her Definiciones Mayas (1999) was listed by El País (Spain), as one of the 100 best books published in Spanish in the last 25 years.
She has published two books of photographs: The Blue Line (Madrid, 2012) and Otras lenguas (Santa Fe, 2019).
Roffé is the founding editor of Ediciones Pen Press (
Among other distinctions, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim (2001) and a Civitella Ranieri (2012) foundations fellowships.


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