Chard DeNiord

The Muse Writes Luis Jorge Borges A Letter On His 86th Birthday
August 9, 2014 DeNiord Chard

The Muse Writes Luis Jorge Borges A Letter On His 86th Birthday

 

The night has entered your eyes

with algebra and fire,

señor, so please don’t listen

anymore to  María Kodama

who says you’ve buried something

already immortal in

the library of the past.

She’s only repeating what

I said about Sappho,

Dante, and Shakespeare—

that no poet can

become his own under-

taker until he’s dead

himself. That such burial

is death’s work alone

and no one else’s, especially

the poet’s. Although she walks

beside you like your mother

on the streets of Buenos Aires,

you must leave her behind

on the road that’s not a road

you’ve chosen to walk by yourself

at night with me if you wish

to see at all. You’re almost

invisible now that you’re

so famous, which María

for no reason you

can blame her, is

as blind to as you are

to a wall, unlike the others

who pass you on the street

without regard, except

for the child who watches the way

you stop at every corner

to sign the air with your cane

as if it were the title

page of a book of poems,

which it is, it is—the one

you’ve been writing for centuries

in poet years and have finished

now that you’ve come to see

so much in the light of darkness.

Chard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, most recently In My Unknowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020), Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and The Double Truth (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and two books of interviews with eminent American poets titled I Would Lie To You I I Could (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018) and Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers Stapled Songs (Marick Press, 2011)He is the essay editor at Plume Online Poetry Magazine, a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust, and the former poet laureate of Vermont (2015-2019). His poems have appeared recently in Poetry, The Michigan Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Antioch Review, AGNI, and Blackbird.