Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Bosch
_ _I alone leave all this behind.
I leave this bench, I leave my pants,
the things I’ve done, my “big chance,”
my number split through side to side,
I alone leave it all behind.
_ _From the Champs Elysées or the turn
of the moon’s strange, narrow street,
my death leaves town, my cradle too,
and, alone, cut loose, others at every turn,
the one most like me completes his turn
and dispatches his shadows, singly, discrete.
_ _And I withdraw from it all, because all of it
remains to make up the excuse:
my shoe, its mud, its eyelet,
and even the crease in the elbow
of my own button-down shirt.
César Vallejo (1892–1938) was considered one of the greatest Peruvian poets of the twentieth century. He also wrote three novels, five plays, a children’s book, and several essay collections.
Vallejo’s collection Trilce was reviewed in AGNI 40 by Mark Wagner.