Conditions for the Portrait by Juan Lamillar – translated by Don Bogen

A gray sky
or twilight are good
for painting a portrait,
for entering the shadow of the eyes.
To make sure the face still waiting there
is not damaged by the sun,
black out the window,
black out the world.
Just the eyes studying emptiness:
no light to hurt them,
no silence coming to their rescue.
Born in Seville in 1957, Juan Lamillar is the author of ten books of poetry, including Entretiempo (Renacimiento, 2015), a volume of selected poems. Prizes for his poetry include the Premio Luis Cernuda, the Premio Vicente Nuñez, and the Premio Villa de Rota.
Don Bogen is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Immediate Song (Milkweed, 2019), and the translator of Europa: Selected Poems of Julio Martínez Mesanza (Diálogos, 2016). Recent poems appear in Poetry Northwest, The Yale Review, and other journals. His website is