Juan Antonio González Iglesias

American Campus

                          University of Oregon


Between the gymnasium and the library 

the cemetery lengthens—those who founded 

the city sleep there. The moss

creeps over the capital Roman letters

of the British names, and the lichen inside 

the precise numbers obstructs 

my reading: Died September.

I can decipher that someone lived

28 years, 17 days

in the last century, the XIX.

Hardly a cross, a few cypress trees.

Ivy everywhere. Instantly

the irreverent squirrels run

over the graves. And a few bicycles

on the paths, students 

with skateboards and books 

under their arms, and the expected

movement of lovers and loners.

I too have crossed this place many times.

Thursday afternoons the students 

play a rugby match 

on the adjoining field—they finish 

happy and exhausted. Everything shows,

through this knowledge that we have

of this world, that one day their magnificent 

thighs will rest under the earth.

But an overdose of the future

on any campus and the idea

that the laws of physics don’t have 

full validity in this area,

makes me think of the resurrection

with unusual intensity.

It could also be that this fall 

I have just turned forty.



 Translated by Curtis Bauer
“American Campus” was published in Eros Is More (Alice James Books, 2014).


You can read and listen the poem in the original Spanish here