The day the world ends
will be clean and orderly
like the notebook
of the best student in the class.
The town drunk
will sleep in a ditch,
the express train will pass
without stopping at the station
and the regimental band
will endlessly practice
the march they have played in the square for twenty years.
Only some children
will leave their kites tangled
in telephone lines
to run home crying
not knowing what to tell their mothers
and I will carve my initials
in the bark of a linden tree
knowing that it won’t do any good.
The kids will play football
in the empty lot on the edge of town.
The holy sects will come out
to sing on the street corners.
The crazy old woman will pass with her parasol.
And I will say to myself: “The world cannot end,
because here on the patio the pigeons and the sparrows
are still squabbling over the grains."
translated from the Spanish by Miller Williams