My mother likes to go to this café with sober lamps,
to order vanilla cookies,
drink unhurriedly two cups of black tea
as in a ceremonial act.
I have brought her here, then, giving up my laborious afternoon to this filial gesture.
Through the enormous windows we see life pressing on outside
while we talk about bygone days
And the lukewarm ambiance of the place suggests that happiness is no more than this.
Suddenly, as if recovering words from a dream
she says: “It’s a pity everything has an end.”
She says it with a slight smile, because she knows
that being solemn does not go well with the afternoon.
(My mother is already seventy-four years old
and she was at some time beautiful.)
In the bottom of the cups the tea paints its signs.
I don’t know what to say.
We look at the avenue, the blurred faces of the passers-by,
the trees that keep silent. Night is falling.
Translation: 2005, Nicolás Suescún.
Spanish: De Tarde En Tarde
© Piedad Bonnett