Moon Over Ottawa

Alejandro Saravia

Translated by: Sauline Letendre

Original text: "Luna de Ottawa "

Artwork by Lisa D Hickey

Which streets does your body cross while you sleep?

I listen to your breathing, its language of encounters and visions

as you sleep by my side at dawn

but you are not here, in our vessel of sheets


There might be sunsets, the figure of another person

The dust of a song on your pupils that turn in your sleep

someone’s face about whom you know nothing

from a lost teenage kiss

you don’t even know where the old words and promises have gone


Your body moves slightly, turning in this sleepless island

air becomes rhythm when it engulfs your lungs

four thirty in the morning and I watch you sleep

like a cat hypnotized by the Ottawa moon


Elusive republic, impenetrable territory

from afar, I watch the landscapes of your dreams in code

even in your sleep, your hands recognize me and reach out for me

perhaps to fight off a dark shadow

perhaps to better forget what cannot be forgotten


It is morning, and perhaps in your dream the afternoon sun

comes through the window of a bus that drives you far away

in your dream, the wind speaks and the rain sings

maybe you visit far away planets

fly with paper wings above ancient cities

or maybe you dream of the Ireland of your ancestors

of the Bolivia of your flowers of laughter and song

of Yoknapathawpa or Macondo


Or maybe you dream of a man

in love looking at you while you dream


Alejandro Saravia

Alejandro Saravia, auteur bolivien-canadien établi à Montréal depuis près de 30 ans, a publié plusieurs recueils de poésie, dont les plus récents L’homme polyphonique (2014), Jaguar con corazón en la mano (2010), Lettres de Nootka (2008), et un roman, Rojo, amarillo y verde (2003). Il est l’un des collaborateurs réguliers de la revue hispanocanadienne The Apostles Review.

Sauline Letendre

Sauline Letendre, traductrice agréée, réviseure dans le domaine financier depuis plus de 20 ans, a participé dans le passé à la traduction de la revue littéraire Ruptures et traduit d’autres poèmes d’Alejandro Saravia publiés dans la revue TransLit. Elle habite dans la région de Montréal avec ses deux filles et son conjoint.