The Brief Space Where You Are Absent (El breve espacio en que no estás)

Author:
Pablo Milanés
Testimony by:
Pedro Mella Contreras

In the Penitentiary, we listened to the song “The Brief Space Where You Are Absent” on the radio stations Aurora and Nuevo Mundo.

When I was in the hospital of the Penitentiary, I asked a prison officer to buy me the cassette with that song.

I wanted to give it to my partner, as it was her birthday. She was in Valdivia and travelled to Santiago every fifteen days to visit me.

It was very emotional when I handed her the cassette. The song is gorgeous and says many things. It is our song.

We still have the cassette. It is a relic.


Published on: 28 September 2019


Moist traces still remain
its smells already fill my solitude
in the bed her silhouette
sketches such a promise
of filling the brief space
where you are absent.

I still don’t know if she will be back
no one knows, the day after, what you will do
breaks all my models
doesn’t admit to having a sadness
doesn’t ask me for anything in exchange
for what she gives.

She can be violent and tender
doesn’t talk about eternal unions
but gives herself as if
there was but a single day to love.

Doesn’t share a meeting
but likes the song
that commits her thinking.

I still have not asked, “Will you stay?”
I am very afraid the answer will be “never”
I prefer to share her
rather than empty out my life
she’s not perfect
but comes close to what I
simply dreamed of.