Alexandra Domínguez – Theology of the Unbeliever – translated by Jeremy Paden

If each lamp is the eye of a serpent in the night.

If the architecture of respectability and the geometry of patience means nothing.

If the intuition of astronomers opens its folder in the tea fields.

If each watch is an empty room where promises are never broken.

If you beneath the light are the wind of light and we don’t call you light.

If already from the perfect labyrinth you weren’t able to find the doorway of meaning.

If there out in the open the calculus of the universe had something to do with the clay pots of seven.

If only you were to speak of things you didn’t know and we were to hear you as if an empty voice.

If of all that which you aren’t you weren’t ever the theology of imagination

Alexandra Domínguez (Concepción, Chile 1956) is a Chilean artist, poet, and translator who resides in Madrid, Spain. She has exhibited in various galleries and shows throughout Latin America, Europe, and the US and won the Gran Premio Nacional de Pintura Salón del Sur in 1989. She has published two award-winning collections of poems: The Conquest of Air winner of the Premio Hispanoamericano de Poesía Juan Ramón Jiménez in 2000, and Poems to Carry in Your Pocket winner of the Premio de Poesía Rincón de la Victoria In Memoriam a Salvador Rueda in 2006. She and her partner, Juan Carlos Mestre, translated the complete poems of Saint-John Perse into Spanish published in 2021. 

Jeremy Paden is professor of Latin American literature at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky and he is on faculty at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA. He is a literary translator and has published translations of contemporary Argentine, Colombian, Chilean, Mexican, and Spanish poetry. He is also a poet who has published three chapbooks and two full-length collections. The latter two are: world as sacred burning heart (3: A Taos Press, 2021) and the bilingual Self-Portrait as an Iguana (Valparaíso USA, 2021). Self-Portrait, written originally in Spanish, was named co-winner of the inaugural Poeta en Nueva York Prize. His bilingual and illustrated children’s book Under the Ocelot Sun/Bajo el sol del ocelote (Shadelandhouse Modern Press, 2020), on the migrant caravan crisis, won a 2020 Campoy-Ada Prize awarded by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language for Children’s Literature in Spanish.