The Moon in Ciudad Juárez. Recollection. Translation by David Lauer

The moon in Ciudad Juárez. Chinese people stand in line.
A multitude waiting
in line, outdoors, because they want permits, passports.
I discover them. I greet them in broken Chinese. It is enough.
They step out of line, and huddle around me.
I speak of Li Pai and Tu Fu
great names of the past.
One woman recites a poem by heart, full of emotion.
As if she were singing.
She explains a word to me
I do not understand. Again she explains. Then points skyward and when I turn
I understand that she means moon.
The moon, white and blue.
The moon, high above the sprawl
above a grayish suburb in the grayest city.
But it is the same one those great dead people looked upon.
Li Pai and Tu Fu´s moon. The one that future
poets will surely see.
The same one for the Chinese, the timeless one
the one belonging to humankind.
We spoke of this.
We agreed. They share words in Chinese and laugh.
On the other side of their world.
So far away.
Standing in line, in Ciudad Juárez,
flanked by police and metal fences,
at a customs office.

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