Five Minutes

Julio Torres-Recinos

Translated by: David Rozotto

Original text: "Cinco minutos "


Artwork by Nina Valetova

Every morning I see you

leaving in a hurry;

you fix your hair a little,

make sure you haven’t left anything,

and leave in a rush,

without giving me time

to tell you

another reason,

to ask you

another question

that may stop you

for a few more seconds;

you attempt to reply

with that kindness of yours;

and those eyes...

I ask you if you have

five minutes

so that we can go to Italy

or to that Mexico

you like so much

--this time of year the meadows must be very green

and the sun might not be so hot --;

I ask you if you have

five minutes

but the birds

don’t leave you alone,

you touch them with your hands,

they hop on your shoulders;

you see me and then

I use the moment to talk to you

about Juan Ramón and Machado

-- these are the plans to spend

five minutes with you --

about Glenn Gould and Charlie Parker.

You tell me that you are

always busy

and talk to me about birds

and photographs of faraway places,

of other worlds

with pink doors

and sad faces,

about Kandinsky and Der Blaue Reiter

and other painters

of the 20th century;

I insist that we read

Paz or Whitman,

or that we visit other countries

to provide you with more pictures or birds,

but you break away from my world

and escape in haste,

speaking of schedules

and tasks;

I hear you saying

something about next Friday,

but you have already turned the corner

and cannot hear me,

and then I understand

that you cannot spend

more than five minutes

under the same sky.

Julio Torres-Recinos

Julio Torres-Recinos is a poet and literary critic. An associate professor of Spanish at the University of Saskatchewan, he teaches language and literature. His poetry and short stories have been published in Canada and abroad. This poem was originally published in Hojas de aire by Lord Byron Ediciones in 2008 and has been reprinted with the permission of the author.

David Rozotto

David Rozotto from Guatemala is a certified translator and an associate member of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada. His translations of Julio Torres-Recino’s poems into English are his first venture into literary translation.