“your skepticism” by Victor Pambuccian

when I told you
the unique being
that’s you
is the only one
who could have moved
the mountain
tired in its bone marrow
of the same sunrises and sunsets
you smiled
in disbelief
for you think
we’re only
for some cosmic
puppet theatre
that there are
523 women
alive now
who could have had
the same effect
that I could never
comprehend your uniqueness
but only perceive
a set of traits
that even though
I’ve lived
countless lives
and have
never before prayed
without pause
for another being’s
blissful existence
in a landscape devoid of trees
the belfries never lie
in times of the distress
of oceans bereft of beaches
that there are
universal laws
for which no
language can ever
be invented
that prevent
the badger from singing
for a crow
that gates cannot
contain an inner space
that meetings cannot
be but pre-ordained
between the thirsty
and the involuntarily hungry
who will have nothing
to tell each other
except excuses for
having stepped on each other’s toes
that the first step
in a long journey
is never a probability
that seeing does
not need a seen
even if emptiness
is less appealing
on weekdays
that the only valid excuse
for love
is silence

Victor Pambuccian is a professor of mathematics at Arizona State University. His poetry translations, from Romanian, French, and German, have appeared in Words Without Borders, Two Lines, International Poetry Review, Pleiades, and Black Sun Lit. A bilingual anthology of Rumanian avant-garde poetry, with his translations, for which he received a 2017 NEA Translation grant, was published in 2018 as Something is still present and isn’t, of what’s gone. Aracne editrice, Rome. He was the guest editor of the Fall 2011 issue of International Poetry Review. His poems have appeared in Communion, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Panoplyzine, Lucky Jefferson, O:JA&L, Poetica Review, Apricity Magazine, Detour Ahead, The Elevation Review, The Dillydoun Review, Red Ogre Review, Pure Slush, and Havik: The Las Positas Journal of Arts and Literature.

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