Friday Poem

“Sex is a political condition.” —Kate Millet

Toward a Better Love
Roque Dalton

No one disputes that sex
is a condition in the world of the couple:
from there, tenderness and its wild branches.

No one disputes that sex
is a domestic condition:
from there, kids,
nights in common
and days divided
(he, looking for bread in the street,
in offices or factories;
she, in the rear guard of domestic functions,
in the strategy and tactic of the kitchen
that allows survival in a common struggle
at least to the end of the month).

No one disputes that sex
in an economic condition:
it’s enough to mention prostitution,
the sections in the dailies that are only for her
or only for him.

Where the hassles begin
is when a woman says
sex is a political condition.

Because when a woman says
sex is a political condition
she can begin to stop being just a woman in herself
in order to become a woman for herself,
establishing the woman in woman
from the basis of her humanity
on not of her sex,
knowing that the magic deodorant with a hint of lemon
and soap that voluptuously caresses her skin
are made by the same manufacturer that makes napalm
knowing the labors of the homes themselves
are labors of a social class to which that home belongs,
that the difference between the sexes
burns much better in the loving depth of night
when all those secrets that kept us
masked and alien are revealed.

Translation, Jack Hirschman
from the collection Poetry Like Bread; Curbstone Press, 1994