by Jennifer Cazenave
I. I saw silence being buried in the interstice.
Child is kilthei, child is womb, child is unborn and waiting. He is mute and unacquainted
with signs, he is unseen and thus imaginary.
The womb is an opaque gate of clay and child is mindful, the Latin precursor to memory.
He is coiled because he wants to see his whole body.
But unborn he never says, I want to remember myself.
Which came first, the metaphor of the earth or of the womb?—in both of these ovals,
water and red earth lift from darkness the rim of a circle,
And three seasons carry to it venerated objects.
The child that is born is like winter: destitute of the shape he feels inside himself.
II. Dawn (1935)
I see you as a child, a book spread on a very big table in a room below ground [of
your hope], where the alphabet changes into human flesh [to link the eye to the hand],
Seated, stifled [an ornamental letter seals your mouth], witness to the obscurity of
letters [a testimony is a spalling, an accidental chip from a block of stone]—the letters
are dark and the heart is a memory that surrounds them.
[Set in order, instantaneous, at the same moment witnessing and vanishing, words
lead beings back around a circle] we watch our words, we recite our joys—
I see your hands already discovering a shadow for your ink.
 Translated from the French by Robert Kelly
Jennifer Cazenave is originally from Bordeaux, and has lived in both France and the United States. For a time, she was the American correspondent for the political journal Détresse et Ingérence. Jennifer graduated from Bard College in 2002, where she began experimenting with texts written in both French and English. She is currently working on a long text in French entitled Les Maladies de la Peau. She hopes to publish this text along with its translation in the Spring. "Une Vie de Fuite Intime" (A Life of Intimate Fleeing) is a work-in-progress.
Her poem, "III. Geographie, Une Terre
Ecrite" was recently published in
2003. All rights
Copyright © 2003 OMPHALOS PRESS / omphalos books. Entelechy: Mind & Culture New Paltz, NY. All rights reserved.