The White Body in the Heart of the Desert

(El Cuerpo Blanco al Fondo del Desierto)
by Homero Aridjis

for J.M.G. Le Clézio

All we saw at first was a white dot
way out in the heart of the desert:
doubtless some dead body
sprawled there in the distance,
a heat shimmer above the sand,
or a trick of the vision, so ready
to believe in anything
but its own shadow.

Then we saw that this body
had an open door:
doubtless some object
fallen from an imaginary space,
a metal bird
with broken wings,
an unserviceable treasure
in the sweltering day.

When we got close, we discovered
that white dot
in the heart of the desert
was a refrigerator
with an open door.


I wanted to submit something to the first edition of the desert-focused blog carnival that Chris Clarke just started, the Carnival of the Arid, but I don’t know much about deserts, so I found this poem to translate instead. Homero Aridjis — whose last name contains the word “arid” — is one of Latin America’s foremost conservationists, in addition to being a widely published poet. He was born and grew up in Michoacán, Mexico, right near the famous over-wintering site for the eastern monarch butterfly population.

5 Replies to “The White Body in the Heart of the Desert”

  1. hi dave passin thru…great post… always enjoy latin literature… the desert has so much to offer…and the abandoned frigerator with a door open somehow lit the imagination of my mind… thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.