100 Refutations: Day 76

Hunter of Flies

I was a lazy laborer
who made furrows out of song,
corralling herds of
my own hoofed silences.

A little dove
hunter of scarlet clouds,
plucking bits of sky
off of the backs of flies.

My father: “What good are you?”
And, true, I was good for nothing.
But I carried around a house
like a fly, on the palm of my hand.

One day, I set it loose in the countryside
and it went flying, looking for a place to land
until it sat upon the shoulders of some street.

I built its walls
with the wrinkles of my face,
and its windows,
human bite marks.

Its roof, long sleepless nights.

The neighbors said:
“The hunter of flies is rich.”
So I raise my eyes, like a tree.

And now I have a home.
Where my mother blooms,
her dulce de leche heart
and my sisters
are four rattling bells upon my wings.

My father says now:
“Blessed be,
Oh, hunter of flies and cities!”


Alberto Guillén

Alberto Guillén (1897-1935) was a Peruvian writer and political activist whose body of work includes, among others, several collections of poetry as well as a short novel and a collection of essays.

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.