100 Refutations: Day 10

Ego Sum

Neither mother of Pearl’s complexion, nor locks of gold
Shall you see, like finery, adorning my frame;
neither sapphire’s light, celestial and pure,
trapped and shining, in the pit of my eyes

With the toasted skin of a sun-tanned moor,
with the dark eyes of fatal blackness,
from Ancón to dark green skirts
I was born before a sonorous Pacific sea.

I am a son of sea…because in my soul
There are, like upon waves, nights of calm,
and indefinable, nameless rages

an urgency to fight with myself,
when in recondite grief, I sink into the abyss
thinking I am only sea, cut into the shape of a man


Gaspar Octavio Hernández

Gaspar Octavio Hernández (1893-1918) was born in Panama City and worked as a journalist while writing poetry until the age of twenty-five, when, according to Antologia de la Poesia Hispanoamericana, he died “painfully during a fit of Hemoptysis […] while editing the ‘Star of Panama.’” He was a dedicated editor, an ambitious poet, and a prolific writer, best known for “Canto a la Bandera,” “Melodías del Pasado,” “Cristo y la mujer de Sichar,” “La copa de amatista,” and “Iconografías.”

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.