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Into the Black Woman’s Dream
Your body, a black olive,
the darkest bronze, the deepest sound,
the sound of your ancestors’ tom-toms, their ancient koras.
Across the sky of your body an invisible plow is pulled,
and all the sunken dawns
rise like lightning from the black furrows.
Your body, a tireless rhythm,
the bloodstream of the ocean,
a dark light that leads me down a narrow, dangerous path,
haunting me since childhood,
since before my childhood, from my mother’s womb,
from my first, my most insensible, beginnings.
Now I understand why I could not sing a single song to you:
you yourself are the song of songs.
Trembling and terrible,
I stand beneath the sky of your body,
bewildered by your black magic.
You wreck my health and make me well again,
you say to me: I am your night and your eternal moon.
Be calm, for here you will live long;
my dream is more terrible than the most terrible rebellion.
Moon, black moon,
bewildered by your magic,
I have no word to contradict you,
I have no strength to oppose you.
Moon, black rebellion,
incurable, unhealed wound,
Imperceptibly I fall, I sink into your dream,
like the African sun into the ocean.
Aco Šopov: The Black Woman’s Song (Песна на црната жена), 1976
Translated by Rawley Grau and Christina Kramer, 2022