by Eileen Myles
In the dream I was translating a small grassy area and suddenly I found myself in a tremendous space, hills and mounds of grass all around as far as the eye could see. The space was endless and I did not recollect such an enormous expanse of greenness in the original text so I returned to it and indeed there was a small grassy area in the story but when I returned to the task of bringing it into my original language there it appeared in my mind and to continue rendering it into this language I am writing in now was to confront an impossible task. Was I to translate each blade, each hill or should I simply encapsulate the stretch of incommensurate soft green land in some quick phrase and move on. But the land itself seemed to demand that I do it justice and return as I would to the original text to find my way out or through I would only see a small strip along a median strip or the round area of grass around a flag pole, a small yard, nothing like the land I was in when I began working again. It seemed to be grown of the act of translation itself. That there was an enormous land that began for me and would never end and perhaps I was being invited to live there for a spell in order to understand how to render it and how it would never appear in the original but only in my own mind as I prepared to shift the meaning of one language's sense of this land into another. Was it the extra, all the grass in the original text that I had missed like an enormous appendix of grass which had to be available to the reader to have understood where he or she stood and now I must stand there for a time to undertake the act of reinstalling what was missing from one world into another and to admit the lonely impossible of it going on in this direction and that and that and whether I would walk, lay down or stand still in this grassy plain it was my business to be here in my fear of it and my awe whatever it took the time was mine to admit it into the book however long it wanted me.