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The Other

a poem by Rosario Castellanos

 

Why say the names of gods, stars,
spray from an invisible ocean
or pollen from the farthest gardens?
If life hurts us, if every day comes
tearing at our innards, if every night falls
convulsing, murdered.
If someone else’s pain hurts us—a man
we don’t know, but who is
here at all hours, is victim
and enemy and love and everything
that’s missing if we want to be whole.
Never say that darkness is your lot;
don’t swallow joy in one gulp.
Look around you: there’s the other, always there’s the other.
He breathes whatever suffocates you,
your hunger is what he eats.
He dies with the purer portion of your death.

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