100 Refutations: Day 83

The Creation of the Uinal (and the World) [Excerpt]

Later the heavens and the earth were created, and the waterfalls, and the stones and the trees, the things of the sea and the things of the earth were created thus:

On the 1 Chuen He
He rose on his own toward divinity, then made the sky and the earth.

On the 2 Eb
He created the first waterfalls, pouring down from the center of the sky toward where there was not yet earth, nor stones, nor trees.

On the 3 Ben
He made the things for the sky, the water and the earth.

On the 4 Ix
He traced a line across the horizon where the sky and earth meet.

On the 5 Men
He created many other things.

On the 6 Cib
The first fire was lit.

On the 7 Caban
Honey was created.

On the 8 Ecnab
His hands and feet were firmly planted.

On the 9 Cahuac
The first thought of hell occurred to him.

On the 10 Ahau
The vicious creatures went to hell.

On the 11 Imix
Was the formation of stones and trees.

On the 12 Ik
The breath of life was created.

On the 13 Akbal
He poured water upon the fields.

On the 1 Kan
Rage was created, for evil was already there.

On the 2 Chicchan
Was the discovery of all the ills that existed.

On the 3 Cimi
Death was invented.

On the 5 Lamat
He divided the seven great waters of the sea.

On the 6 Mukuc
The valleys were still submerged.

After all of this came the creation of the Word, when there was no word in the heavens, nor the water, nor on the earth. Later on they went on thinking, “That they were,” and the word, just barely made, was spoken through the thing that is voice: thirteen existences, seven units, and one.* And the days of the Uinal were thus named and were set in the middle of the sky, where they joined hands.

The length of a regular Mayan month.


Unknown Mayan poet

According to Abraham Arias-Larreta in Literaturas Aborigenes de America (1976), “The Mayan Uinal was a period of 20 days, each of them with a different name. The Mayan year, or Haab, was composed of 18 Uinales and a final period of 5 days, the Xma Kaba Kin, nameless days.”

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.