From Wandering Mortal

Translated by John Taylor

To pace day and night
over the chalky rubble
blown upwards by the wind

to travel up and down
these harsh expanses
shining with salt

to wander as a mortal woman
among the milestones of the world

seeking a sign
that has survived nothingness
a lost toy
or simple earthen potsherd

a human response
to so many blind landslides

John Taylor received a 2011 NEA grant for his project to translate Georges Perros’s Papiers collés and a second grant, from the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation, to translate Louis Calaferte’s Le Sang violet de l’améthyste. Taylor’s most recent collection of personal writings is The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos). He is also the author of the three-volume essay collection, Paths to Contemporary French Literature (Transaction), as well as Into the Heart of European Poetry (Transaction).

José-Flore Tappy was born in Lausanne and is the author of five volumes of poetry: Errer mortelle (Payot, 1983), Pierre à feu (Empreintes, 1987), Terre battue (Empreintes, 1995), Lunaires (La Dogana, 2001), and Hangars (Empreintes, 2006). She has won two prestigious Swiss literary awards: the Ramuz Prize and the Schiller Prize. She works as an editor and scholar at the Centre de Recherches sur les Lettres Romandes at the University of Lausanne.