3.2

20 February 2017

Found in Translation: Langston Hughes from Harlem to Samarqand

Found in Translation: Langston Hughes from Harlem to Samarqand

Among those collected materials, I found a loose page—a translation of a romantic poem (a duet if sung) that Hughes simply named, “Old Uzbek Poem.” Actually, to say, “I found it,” is too easy. There was a magic in my stumbling upon it, the process of reading, of holding this manuscript moment in my hand and dwelling in his handwriting.

Spectre

…But daughter

is always a sightless gamble. At night he dreams
of hands closing tight about her throat,
this poisoned root we must cast out.

My mother says nothing
and looks away, a worse
kind of violence.

The Secret Lives of Planets


“giant planets in the outer reaches, [leave] plenty of room
for smaller ones to lurk undetected in the warmer inner regions—”
whether parents are really failed stars—
telescopic, mirrored and warped—