Conversation at the Bridgeport Train Station With an Old Man Who Speaks Spanish

We present this work in honor of the 40th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Lourdes Casal
1938 – 1981

(for Salvador Ocasio)

Torn coat
dusty shoes
thin white hair
Strange gentleman’s stance
I think: This old man has a Unamuno head.
Trenches rather than furrows
line his olive face.
He speaks haltingly.
Moves his hands slowly.
Sixteen years, he says,
Bridgeport and sixteen years of his life.
Sixteen years without sun
for these colourless trousers
and this bitter weariness
that give his smile a steel hue.

Translation by Margaret Randall

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