100 Refutations: Day 46

The Madman’s Skull

They cut off the head of some unlucky madman
who, in a somnambulist’s tone, used to recite his monologues,
and they threw it in the garden where, in the sweltering hour,

he would speak to roses and red carnations,
before, in the asylum, from some unknown disease, he’d died,

then that mass of cells and phosphorus, transformed itself.
Shed the hair, and the muscle of his face,

birds pecked out his eyes,
and the sun made the skull into an oven, cooking

the head, from whence gruesome, fateful worms
emerged and from whence a thousand gold-leafed butterflies also.
Later, when the asylum’s gardener,

holding it between his calloused fingers, shook the skull,
strange sparks shone in hollow sockets

and the jaw bones rattled as if laughing.


Juan Ramón Molina

Juan Ramón Molina (1875-1908) is a lesser-known poet among his contemporaries, yet he made significant contributions to Honduran poetry and to the Modernist movement in Central America. During his extensive travels he met many of the great poets of his time, and these encounters influenced and informed his own work.

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.