Five Unpublished Poems from Dulce diosa de los ríos


Wayuu poet Jayariyú Farías Montiel.

Tehuana woman

To Frida 

I never painted my dreams
I painted my reality

If you could string up your neck
With the braids you wove slowly
You would
If you could paint your blood green
And dye red the blue sea
You would
If you could put on floral trousers
And pepper the loom with black contempt
You would
If you could bind a quetzal to your womb
And set its wings to the paint brush
You would
If you could wound your own sorrow
And cast stones at fate for not killing you
You would
If you could bite the heel of your foot
To not follow behind it
You would
If you could paint like you weren’t painted
Like the one who loved you didn’t know how
You would
What you would never do would be to fell
Flowers from the tehuana you wanted to wear
Everything else, you would do
Woman of defiance


Araucanas of another age

        To the Mapuche woman

As you weave and thread 
You intertwine life itself
Woman, you are unchanging
What do you see in the peumas?
More pain, more bloodshed 
You don’t stop shouting and fighting
The system doesn’t understand you
Let alone accept you, let alone tolerate you
Go and speak with the spirits
They understand your language
They comprehend what you feel
Go, because they’re closing in
There’s no time
They’re coming for Arauca
Don’t wait for the Lonko
The Lonko is you with your hair
Nahuen Mapuche woman
Time doesn’t wait for you


September 5

To the Bartolinas

Bartolina of all ages
You were, are, and will be
Fierce Indian they called you
Fierce Indian with no sea
Woman of the Altiplano
Lady of liberty
With a fighting love
Tupac Catari Sisa
Oppressors’ delirium
Aymara rebel
They destroyed your body
But never your dignity
Entire constellations
Received you out there
At the edges of time
Where the end does not exist
Here you remain, here you are
In the campesina woman, 
In the Indian with no sea
Bartolina five times
You were, are, and will be…


Woman on the street 

The vagabond, the madwoman, the fiend
Her, with thick red lips, with fake nails
With the sultry voice
Her, the one who sells love at a low price
Her, the one who tries to buy it without paying
Her, with the high bun, the short skirt
Her, from the hollow, from the darkness
The brown-skinned girl with no mother or father
Her, with the throat meant for shouting
Her, the one who tells the naked truth
And who doesn’t hide behind a disguise
Because all women are whores
When the male claims the altar
When they offer moon with the wind
And the sun glued to the sea
When they lower the heavens and peak out over it
‘Til their carnal desires are satisfied
No shame in it for that vagabond
Just a rival for her to catch
Why throw stones at someone just like you?
If everyone has a little story
That maybe she doesn’t want to tell
Because a high society lady
Doesn’t lie on the couch
Confessing she has a life
Pointed to with a backwards finger
And though she may hide her figure with silk
Every thread clings to the rhythm 
And movement of her hips
That can’t grip more than desire
An inheritance left to be mortgaged
The coherence of being good
Doesn’t condemn evil…


Woman of Courage

Near the hillside 
Stands a peaceful mountain
I could have leapt from it 
I preferred to stay
In the mornings I gaze at a sun
That I don’t look at
In the nights
I spot a moon 
That I don’t behold
I stayed 
Because I want to be brave
I could have leapt from the mountain 
And fallen to the savanna
But I wanted to stay
To see the flowers I cannot smell
To dream without remembering
I can no longer hear the beats of my heart
I don’t know who I am
I will open the book to erase my history
Each line will be a memory
Each memory will be a teardrop
And each teardrop will be something forgotten

Translated by Ashley B. Caja


Latin American Literature Today No. 10
Number 10

In our tenth issue, we question the values of literature and journalism in the post-truth age through the words of Mexican writer Juan Villoro and we explore new territories of digital literature in a dossier curated by Scott Weintraub. We also feature memories of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre told through graphic narrative, new perspectives on the translation of Shakespeare into Spanish with an essay from Braulio Fernández Biggs, and Wayuu literature from the Venezuelan side of the border than runs through their ancestral lands.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Juan Villoro

Dossier: Digital Literature


Indigenous Literature




Translation Previews and New Releases


On Translation: Seeking Publisher

Graphic Narrative

Nota Bene