And after some more talk we agreed that the
   wisdom of rats had been grossly overrated,
   being in fact no greater than that of men.

I effaced my footprints so well
that they’ll never know anything. The sixth century is well
    on its way,
facing the Propontis a fool married a whore;
these things happen. Once they finish mending my evening
and I return slowly among the shadows in Campania
(frayed, yes, like the skin of Plotinus, by subterranean lava,
by the spite to which I stopped paying attention),
if someone starts pondering grandiosities about sovereigns and
with a glimmer of envy in his goat eyes,
I’ll say, bearing my childhood in mind but without naming it,
that all the stupidity in the world will be required
to begin another era, enormous and delicate,
and that the powerful will not be different
from those who erect them, hang them, restore them.
This rock was not in the way last night.
Miss Kovalevskaya? She was a logician.


Translated from the Spanish by Mónica de la Torre