100 Refutations: Day 7

The Old Indians

The old men, very old, are sitting down
beside their goats, beside their small tame animals.

The old men are sitting down beside a river
that flows always very slowly.

Before them, the air stops its march;
It drifts by, contemplating them;
touching them, carefully
so as not to crush, hearts made of ash

The old men take their sins out to pasture;
this is their only job.
They let them run wild during the day, and the day they spend forgetting,
In the evening they set them free
to sleep beside them, keeping warm.


Joaquín Pasos

Joaquín Pasos (1914-1947) was born in Granada, Nicaragua, studied law at the University of Managua, and was part of the Nicaraguan Movimiento de Vanguardia. He wrote plays, poems, and essays, and was occasionally incarcerated for his involvement in satirical work mocking the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza García. In Poemas de un joven, Ernesto Cardenal wrote that Pasos’s poetry was “cheerful, like the Nicaraguan people [who], despite all they have suffered, remain always cheerful.”

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.