From all its colours, life gave it
the most vulgar greys: reinforced concrete,
tears, sickness, failure, rain,
the hardness of days with dirty nails.
But from the war years it retained
the red and black eruption of the nights,
the air-raid siren in the fog.
Passages and platforms were packed
with bodies and blankets.
They were never grey nights. They met
during the air-raids, and their bodies
were civilian weapons against fear.
Her and the searchlights in the night sky.
He doesn’t know if she died during an air-raid.
Or if, as for him, these memories
are the last air-raid shelters.
Translated from the Catalan by Anna Crowe