Other People’s Poetry

A Maker of Infernos

     to Martin Cerda

Religion class, room three; there Father Gregorio
Will explain to us, forty rascals, the mechanisms
of eternity:

       “Consider (he says) the passing of time in hell:
Once every century a blue ant completes one trip
Around a bronze sphere as big as the Earth. Slowly,
Step by step, it wears away that gleaming metal star.
Ten thousand myriads of footsteps fall, repeating themselves,
And when it’s done…only one second has passed
In God’s inferno of torments.”
                         He’d stop there, and we:
Chattering with stupor and fright, we’d beat our heads against
   the windows.

Don Gregorio Martinez, Jesuit professor of rhetoric,
Is dead: the worms, as though they were ants, drag him away.
Thank heaven that each of us rascals is now free
To choose his own inferno.  

by Ludwig Zeller, as translated by A.F. Moritz in Rules of The Game, 2012, Quattro Books.