A poem by Yolanda Castaño
APPLES FROM TOLSTOY’S GARDEN
who traced by car the banks of the Neretva,
who exhausted on bicycle the steaming streets of Cophehnague.
I who measured with my own arms the holes of Sarajevo,
who crossed, in the driver’s seat, the border of Slovenia
and overflew in a biplane the Ria of Betanzos.
I who set off in a ferry which docked on the coasts of Ireland,
and at the island of Ometepe in Lake Cocibolca;
I who will never forget that shop in Budapest,
nor the fields of cotton in the province of Tesalia,
nor a night when I was 17 in a hotel in Nice.
My memory wets its feet at Jurmala beach in Latvia
and on 6th Avenue feels at home.
who could have died once taking in a taxi in Lima,
who crossed the yellow of the brilliant fields of Pakruojis
and crossed that same street as Margaret Mitchell in Atlanta.
My steps walked the pink sands of Elafonisi,
they crossed a corner in Brooklyn, the Charles Bridge, Lavalle street.
I who traversed desert to go to Essaouira,
who slid on a zip wire from the heights of Mombacho,
who won’t forget the night I slept on the street itself in Amsterdam,
nor the Monastery of Ostrog, nor the stones of Meteora.
I who said a name aloud in the middle of a plaza in Gante,
who once cut through the Bosphorus dressed in promises,
who was never the same after that afternoon in Auschwitz.
who drove east until near Podgorica,
who covered in a snowmobile the Vatnajókull glacier,
I who never felt as alone as in the rue de Sant Denis,
who will never taste grapes like the grapes of Corinto.
I, who one day plucked
apples from Tolstoy’s garden,
I want to go back home:
that I love most
of A Coruña
precisely in you.
[from A Coruña in light of the letters (2008)]
Translated from the Galician by Lawrence Schimel