100 Refutations: Day 50

The Magnets of the Abyss

I could fall!…I could fall!…

On the shores of this star
I could take such a step
that I don’t touch the ground…

I could fall!…I could fall!…

When, in the mystic dance
I throw roses to the sea…
almost never, almost never
can the painful tide
shelter my roses.

…The anguished waves flee
unable to take me with them.

I slip on roses toward the sky…

I fall into the abyss.
I long for it.

Ah, yes!…I can fall now.

I slip on roses…they magnetize me
the peaceful stars
that wish to shelter me.
But I tear off my petals…
unable to stop myself.

I know:
my pained stem
is left tangled in waves
of oblivion’s waters.

That’s why, the intangible star
awaits me still, and I slip
like a cascade of roses
by its ineffable lights.

But suffering earth
feels the vanquished shore
beneath my divine step…

I could fall!…I could fall!…

Ah, yes! The grief-stricken earth
not even with its tragic wound
can hold me.

I slip on roses…on roses…


María Adela Bonavita

María Adela Bonavita (1900–1934) was born in San José, Uruguay and died before her 34th birthday. She published just one collection of poetry in her lifetime, The Conscience of the Suffering Song. One more collection was published after her death. She was plagued by “a nervous illness.” At four years of age, she began attending the odd class in the cultural center “mostly for entertainment,” wrote her brother in the introduction to her second poetry collection, which she'd dictated to him from her deathbed. She worked as a teacher for most of her adult life, setting up a small school in her home where she was beloved by her students. She was also known to create portraits of family members in her spare time, though she’d never received any education on the subject.

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.