Sunday, April 1, 2018




I’ve lost the words.
I no longer clutch them in my fists.
They left me during a bad shock
and with the health of a brain bereft of green lagoons.
Now I do not know how to interpret this imprisonment.
How can I translate fluency?
With what may I defend happiness when
sad poems abound?
How can I name indignation?
Where are words when surprise
brings me spacious valleys, allegories of freedom, and
black soil for sowing my stubbornness?
Could I, perhaps, list my obsessions?
Where is the word in Spanish
that lies on the border of the word “impossible”?
Is the word “sleep” the key, the door, the window?
Are words the skin in which discoveries rest?
Why have they gone beyond my reach?
This paralysis is from not being able to use them.
They’re there, somewhere—talked over, violated,
entombed in technical manuals, in the latest books,
or in some Sufi burial.
Why can’t I retain them in my mind, my eyes, in my hair
incessantly speaking while I sleep?
Words have left me during numerous exiles,
they abandon me and I weep.
I beg for them,
I beg, hitting my head.
I blame myself like a victim unsure of her tragedy:
I blame myself for having forgotten them.


I am here because I have paid.
Now I deserve other dances,
a cycle of new moons.

I came for the recent sprouting of the tamarinds,
for the florescence that lowers the profile of the stars.

I have conjured these dances, I have prayed.

I belong to the seeds of a winter sunflower,
to the rice family, to the mango clan,
to the tribe that climbed branches of mamón.

I have paid Saturn
for all my naive crimes
and I’ve learned from the tribes,
warm silence in their hexagonal habitations.

I have surrendered to the river
the error of my old self-image
and mature sadness
in the mother’s womb.

I deserve other fruit,
children from less thankless lands.
The mountains were right
to be climbed
with sacrifice.

The bee woman sacrificed her venom
in delicate and dangerous places.
She gave it all.
Poisoned the air
where perfumes flowered.


You forged the ovum
of my eternal femininity
and then went away
leaving me empty embraces
and the reflection of your face in mine
that I still cannot accept.

There is something of you
in all of the men I have loved,
because after delirium
only a poem remains.

We were one body
my mother and I
when you pursued
the sexual aroma
of an adolescent
devoid of ambition.

But today,
on the cusp of your old age,
I’ve come to remind you
that I am your only daughter,
the one you will never replace
in the arms of any other.

(Gaira, Colombia, 1985)

ANNABELL MANJARRÉS FREYLE: Communications specialist and journalist. Poet and storyteller. Author of three unpublished volumes of poetry: Espejo Lunar Blanco [The White Moon Mirror], Óleo de una mujer acosada por el tiempo [Painting of a Woman harassed by Time], and Animales invertebrados [Invertebrate Animals]. Her poems have been translated into English, Catalan, French, Turkish, and Italian, and appear in various national and international anthologies. She has been invited to International Poetry Medellín Festival and International Poetry Nazim Hikmet Festival in Turquie. Her poems have been translated into English, Catalan, French, and Italian, and appear in various national and international anthologies. She has written an unpublished collection of short stories and is currently working on her first novel. The next selection has been traslated by Ana María Correa:

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