Tomorrow Triumphant

APOLITICAL INTELLECTUALS
One day
the apolitical
intellectuals
of my country
will be interrogated
by the humblest
of our people.

They will be asked
what they did
when their country was slowly
dying out,
like a sweet campfire,
small and abandoned.

No one will ask them
about their dress,
or their long
siesta
after lunch,
or about their futile struggles
against “nothingness”
or about their ontological
way
to make money.
No, they won’t be questioned
on Greek mythology,
or about the self-disgust they felt
when someone deep inside them
was getting ready to die
the coward’s death.
They’ll be asked nothing
about their absurd
justifications,
nartured in the shadow
of a huge lie.

On that day,
the humble people will come,
those who never had a place
in the books and poems
of the apolitical intellectuals
but who daily delivered
their bread and milk,
their eggs and tortillas;
those who mended their clothes,
those who drove their cars,
those who took care of their dogs and gardens,
and worked for them,
and they will ask :
“What did you do when the poor
suffered, when tenderness and life
were dangerously burning out in them?”

Apolitical intellectuals
of my sweet country,
you will have nothing to say.

A vulture of silence
will eat your guts.
Your own misery
will gnaw at your soul.
And you will be mute
in your shame.
trans by Francisco X Alarcón