I was ripped off from a womb from a sword

the night was blazing

sunshine is sad and hurts

it is wondrous to live

it is wondrous to die

in flames the branches of the stars

in flames my heart

paradise is like that, it blazes and it hurts

Let’s run away

you’ll touch my window with a yellow leaf

and I’ll rise naked

if you know my crazy

wake me up

hasten, kill me

I don’t know who I am I don’t exist

yet I’m always amazed when I awaken

as if I’d visited some hidden place

I learnt to spell the colors late

and it was whole the light

I wanted not to learn to read and write

I wanted nothing

I was dragged

grabbed by my hair

beaten by teachers

institutions states 

now nato’s missiles

now my eyes drop

I roam the world like a blast

because my loves are like the wind

because this is a gorgeous forest

where killings happen too

missiles are pointing at my heart

we live through catastrophes

I feel a cosmic angst

our bones are in the air

I embrace this planet I collapse

we chase mammoths we chase the moon

we are never still

each one of us

in light and death

we are contemporaneous

the gods and statues know it well

the absurd atrocity of living only in one body 

Oh, good, Sunday has come

we’ll resurrect again

I won’t go back to school this time, I will not study law

like in 1960

it was it will be different

in the time of justice

I think of darkened seas

of flower beasts

will they perhaps be spared from evil

beloved animals budding caterpillars

the flies gnawing our guts

the constellated flesh of cows is blue and born again 

the spiders shall not forgive us

nor the monkeys we devour alive

I had in my womb the fasting man 

I was ashamed to eat

because we eat

and we poison the sea and the ants

Christ come

just finish off my bared bones

Buddha come

guts of the murdered children

of the child I once was

violated murdered

in a staircase

then I saw lovely things and I cried out

I was dying and it was lovely

my father was afraid

the stars were falling and I was falling


the swords hastened the fear

at whom are these missiles pointing straight

this threat to life

at whom this fury

at whom if not at me


Selva Casal is a Uruguayan poet. She was born in 1927. Casal has published numerous poetry collections, including Arpa (1958); Días sobre la tierra (1960); Poemas de las cuatro de la tarde (1962); Poemas 65 (1965); Han asesinado al viento (1974); No vivimos en vano (1976); Nadie Ninguna Soy (1983);  El infierno es una casa azul (1999); Los misiles apuntan a mi corazón (1988); El infierno es una casa azul (1993); Vivir es peligroso (2001); El grito (2005); Ningún día es Jueves (2007). In 2010 she received the Morosoli Award for Poetry from the Lolita Rubial Foundation. 

Verónica Pamoukaghlián is a nonfiction editor at Sutton Hart Press, a novel translator for Amazon Publishing, and an Ibermedia Scholarship recipient. Her work in various genres has appeared in The Acentos Review, Prism, Naked Punch, The Galway Review, The Southern Pacific Review, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Louisville and a Creative Writing professor at Uruguay’s UTU University. Verónica also produces films at her company NÉKTAR FILMS. In 2019 she was selected for a writing residency at Centre Pompadour in Northern France.

Photograph from performance by Leif Holmstrand.

Pages: 1 2