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The Sleeping Beauty, By Heberto Padilla

July 25, 1999

It's going to be hard to wake her, so deep she is in her dream,

in which the young princes of her girlhood attend her,

caught in the lights of passing cars,

shimmering capes

like the oily eyes of the streetcars.

Useless to blow the horn by the lattice

of the window. She won't lean out.

Hands complaining on the horn are not enough

to startle in the least her gentle eyelids.

They have surely by now slipped into sleep.

As a child, she slept over the noise of the loudspeakers,

in the glare of the neon lights.

It's going to be hard to wake her,

so used she is to dissonance.

The noisier it is, the more her inner life,

the more precious her dazed and distant state.

Hard for ourselves to get to sleep,

to get back where she is, in the gardens of childhood,

with witches running wild in her hair.

Who do we think we are, coming to wake her?

--TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH BY ALASTAIR REID

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