POEM BY E. AMATO. TRANSLATED TO GERMAN BY ZISKA KILLAT. IMAGE BY JOANNA WINOGRAD.
E. Amato once overheard two people conversing in Spanish on the Tube in London, and the musical quality of their exchange captured her attention. So she listened in, though she is not a Spanish speaker. Among the few recognizable words were “la luna.” And thus, this Spanish moon gave birth to a poem recounting the conversation E. Amato imagined her fellow commuters were having. “La Luna” comes from E. Amato’s chapbook Will Travel and has been translated to German by Ziska Killat.
Overheard Conversation in Spanish Translated by Me
(Who Does Not Speak Spanish)
Work was really long. And The Moon—she did not call me back.
You know how she is. Besides, I heard she was in Spain.
Her feet are in Spain, but her heart rides the Galaxy.
The Moon has no feet. Everyone knows this.
Well, that’s clear, but then why doesn’t she call me?
She has strong pulls. Perhaps you are not one of them.
Well, I would like to go to Spain.
Of course, if only to see The Moon in her own light
Zufällig mitbekommene Unterhaltung auf Spanisch, übersetzt von mir (die kein Spanisch kann)
Auf Arbeit hat’s heute ewig gedauert. Und der Mond - er hat mich nicht zurückgerufen.
Du weißt doch, wie er ist. Außerdem hab ich gehört, er sei in Spanien.
Seine Füße sind in Spanien, aber sein Herz bereitet die Galaxie.
Der Mond hat keine Füße. Das weiß jeder.
Naja, das ist offensichtlich, aber warum ruft er mich dann nicht an?
Er hat viel Anziehendes. Vielleicht gehörst du nicht dazu.
Ich würde schon gerne nach Spanien.
Natürlich, schon allein, um den Mond im eigenen Licht zu sehen.
* Both German and Spanish are languages that have grammatical genders. Even without a grammatical gender directing perception, the moon is usually considered female by native English speakers. In German, however, the moon or “der Mond” has a masculine grammatical gender and is considered male. In this translation of “La Luna,” we decided stick with the German moon’s traditional gender while leaving the genders of the speakers as they are in the original. The dynamic this change creates within a poem that asks all kinds of questions about perception, connection, and expectation, is fascinating. The translation works as an additional layer to the original poem that takes it to a place it wouldn’t get to any other way
E. Amato is a Berlin-based published poet, award-winning screenwriter, and established performer, with three poetry collections released by Zesty Pubs: Swimming Through Amber, Will Travel, and Daughters of Invention. She has been featured in KCET’s LA Letters as one of five emerging female writers. Her poetry is included in Tia Chucha Press’s The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles, Voices from Leimert Park Redux: Los Angeles Anthology, and 1001 Nights: Twenty Years of Redondo Poets. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Translator Ziska Killat is a writer, poet, and translator living in Berlin, Germany. Learn more on her website.
Illustrator/Designer Joanna Winograd is an artist illustrator based in Berlin. Her approach reflects the influences of the multiple countries and cultures where she grew up and has lived. Inspired by this plurality, she creates a style that is simultaneously naive, dark, ruthless, lucid, and optimistic. Visit her website for more.