Magdalena River

 

Colombian poet Robert Max Steenkist.

To The Boga that never was.

The Magdalena River
is comprised of twelve million liters of golden sluggishness,
seducing the mountains
until her embrace with the sea.

Her languid course
harbors once-white hulls;
smugglers’ logs nourished the fish,
the now sandy rifle charges never knew justice in the battles of
the past.

On the river’s bottom sways what never was.
Names of ships, drowsy enslaved punters, and clubbed gators
circle storms of
liquid earth
forgetting their ages.

Plastic bags drift down among the traveling sands
like victorious flags waved by the currents in celebration.

Schools of fishes swim among golden shadows,
through this,
the most terrible and beautiful colony in the kingdom of the blind.

Over the river’s shadowless body
float cattle, gasoline, contraband, mutilated corpses,
but no tourist ever visits the bottom, the submerged attractions,
desolate boardwalks where no one sits
telling lies about how they were founded.

Across the river’s bottom spread her inhabitants, robbing her
body of all they can, feeding on what, day after day, is lost to us.

Translation by Sally Station

Languages

LALT No. 4
Number 4

The fourth issue of LALT highlights underrepresented but deserving voices from across Latin America, with a focus on women writers as well as special sections dedicated to genre-bending science fiction, indigenous-language poetry and prose, and the essential relationship between author and translator.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Fiction

Short Fiction from Peru

Bogotá39

Translation Previews and New Releases

Poetry

Essays

Latin American Science Fiction

Indigenous Literature

Dossier: Five Women Writers in Translation

Interviews

Dossier: Colombian Poetry

Nota Bene