Two Poems by Mario Montalbetti

translated from the Spanish by Clare Sullivan

An Economics Lesson

Why aren’t the markets affected
by the grand desertions, by love affairs that end,
by twilights and disappointments?

No one knows. A few people know:
because the markets respond to two things
and two things only: capital inflows
and expected earnings.

He said this to himself as he walked
with hurried steps, preparing class
on the way to class. He crossed the street.

The lottery man was standing
on the corner, tickets stuck
to his flannel shirt with a safety pin.

He imagined roosters. He kept walking.

He asked himself rhetorically:
and what affects love? The class continues.

No one knows. A few people know:
one thing and one thing only affects love:
the demand for love.

(This is the surprising law
that he must convince them of:

supply doesn’t affect love.)



After doing a job that is remunerated, immune
almost municipal, taking care that my son
doesn’t stumble, and making nocturnal love,

I extinguish the megawatts
and drink alcohol til lubricated
(moonshine, muni, near connubial)

later between the slats of the shutters I can see

that dawn orange as a ripe papaya
falls from the sky
and shatters upon the pavement.