Chronicle of Lima
by Antonio Cisneros
“To allay the doubt
that grows tempestuously,
remember me, Hermelinda,
(“Hermelinda,” popular Peruvian song)
Here are recorded my birth and marriage, the death
of grandfather Cisneros and grandfather Campoy.
Here too is recorded the best of my works, a boy and beautiful.
All the roofs and monuments remember my battles against the
King of the Dwarfs and the dogs
in their fashion celebrate the memory of my remorse.
I was also
fed up with the base wines and without a trace of shame or
modesty was master
of the Ceremony of the Frying.
maintained by the skulls and customs of kings who were
the dullest and ugliest of their time.
What was lost or gained between these waters?
I try to remember the names of the heroes, of the great traitors.
Remember me, Hermelinda, remember me.
The mornings are a little colder,
but you’ll never be certain of the seasons
—it’s almost three centuries since they chopped down the woods
and the ﬁelds were destroyed by ﬁre.
The sea’s close, Hermelinda,
but you can never be sure of its rough waters, its presence
save for the rust on the windows,