Cecilia Pavón

A Galaxy of Three

Collage by Felix Carrasco

Today I woke up at twenty-two minutes past six, it was still dark outside. I was moving my legs and arms in bed, feeling the softness of the worn sheets, the happiness of having a bed to dream in, looking at the ceiling, feeling that the three of us would soon wake up and embark on some trip (like when we went to the Misiones plateau by plane or we crossed the departure gate of the Ushuaia airport to check the golden, igneous luminosity of the sky at ten o'clock at night).

But the dawn itself was the journey, the transition of light in those few minutes.

Or no, I don't know, maybe it wasn't any of this

perhaps the darkness of my room, behind which a dim light pulsed about to begin its expansion, made me dream of a boat trip.

Will we ever get on a ship again, of any kind? I imagined that we would get up and go to the port. I closed my eyes and clearly saw how we walked down a narrow, greasy, wet gangway and onto an old ship, all dark wood, unvarnished.

The last trip I made was at the beginning of March; I read a commissioned text in a foreign city. A plane transported me there to read it. As always when they commission a text from me and offer to pay me, days go by and nothing comes to mind. As the years go by, I find over and over again that if you get paid for a text, it will surely be worse than what you would have written if you were not paid. As if poetry could only exist in a space of absolute gratuitousness. As if every text you get paid for has an unpaid doppelgänger staring up at the sky from a mossy swamp. (Moss like velvet.)

Now I try to write a free text, without gender, or with a new genre that has just been born in the pandemic: a declaration of love to the people who are locked up with me. The only friendly flesh and blood beings I've seen in a hundred days. (I have seen other beings of flesh and blood in stores and on the street but they are unknown, so they fall just like the others, the ones I see on screens, in the category of ghosts.)

Sometimes, while I make tea in the kitchen, I watch one of the people who lives in this house smoke in the tiny backyard, sitting on a worn plastic chair, the smoke rising in a short wall that hits the clothes washed drying on the line, impregnating my delicate pajamas with the smell of tobacco… Before I used to get angry, now I consider myself a privileged observer of the minuscule journey of smoke.

Another travel miniature: the race that the youngest cat undertakes towards the highest branch of the Floripondio tree… There it stays for several hours looking at the sky, like a bird.

Miniatures of travel in one hundred and thirty square meters / miniatures of poems. What is it that surrounds the poem, what is it that comes before or after? Before writing and moving were the same, walking, strolling, going out, flying, running, visiting were synonymous with writing. Poetry was a mixture of vampirism and communion, the more contact with the world, the more poems… That happened to me: I was convinced that the others wrote for me.

Now, the only people that exist are my family and the only possible poem is about them.

In this department we are three people locked up, sometimes it seems to me that we are only one; iIt's a few minutes of sunset in which we laugh and our laughter transforms into a slide of sounds, fast notes drawing a pentagram in the stale air of the living room.

There are also two cats that have become the center of the universe and are treated with great delicacy and held several times a day. “How can it be that such a soft being has blood inside and not feathers,” says the youngest inhabitant of this house.

The stale air of the living room, where we spend hours talking about nothing, is my only landscape. I hadn't seen it before, I went in and out, crossed it absentmindedly. The best thing is to turn off the television and observe every square centimeter of this universe.

The forced confinement to the living room as hell and at the same time as paradise. Like poison and elixir. We are destined to love each other, there is no other option.

In the past, we could run away, at least momentarily, not speak or look at each other for hours or days; now there is a strange mixture of emotions that modify my center, that deform it, grind it, and constantly rearm it.

What is the result of mixing the emotions of three people without leaving a house for a hundred days?

Another travel miniature: iridescent detergent bubbles creeping across the rust-colored slate of the patio.

The youngest person in this family washes the dirty leaves of the rubber tree with a damp cloth while standing on a stool, it is a moving sight. The other one, the one about my age, cuts her finger while cooking and drips blood. The bright red on the cream color of the tiles is now the only possible work of art.

Now those are the events, those are the things that happen.

I think I am the filament of some microbe waiting to receive the proteins that pass through the hearts of others, the two inhabitants of this domicile, our hearts fixed at thirty-four degrees, thirty-six minutes and three seconds south latitude and fifty-eight degrees, twenty-four minutes and six seconds west latitude.

Thinking of yourself as a filament is better than thinking of yourself as a person with a way of dressing, moving your lips and doing things. Better than thinking of yourself as a mom or girlfriend. I close my eyes and I see myself: I am the spiral thread that generates light by the action of the temperature in incandescent lamps; or a part of the long, thin (thread-like) structures of galaxies. I can clean the patio floor with water and detergent and also be a galaxy of filaments… (A galaxy of three planets.)

(I have no idea if my family members feel the same way I do.)

Cecilia Pavón was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1973. She has a degree in Literary Theory from Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 1999 Pavón co-founded the independent art space and small press Belleza y Felicidad. She has published more than ten books of poetry and short stories in Argentina, Mexico, Brasil, Chile, and Uruguay and has been translated into English – Little Joy (Semiotexte, 2021), A Hotel With My Name (Scrambler Books, 2015), Liquorice Candies (Scrambler Books, 2016) and Belleza y Felicidad (Sand Paper Press, 2014) — and French: Bombons  à l'anis (Varichon & Cie., 2022). She runs Microcentro a nomadic space dedicated to poetry readings that organizes workshops and readings throughout different cities.