The rivers will remain as god made them
– Eduardo Galeano – The Memory of Fire
A woman carries the territory
with sugarcane arrows of gold and glory
and whirlpools of fear in winter.
She sings her suffering to the fragile walls
where space waits for promises, devourers of land,
the arabesques of impossible luxury, rivers and gaucho devils,
steeple bells which calculate the price of whirlwinds, of spears
and swollen swamps with sixty carts of Christian faith
in guano and nitrate provinces/criss crossed
with wooden wheels and multiplied many times
into the hands of a black woman with blood in her eyes.
Haul her from the torturer’s gaze,
from polygraphs and thrown from creole trains,
from the ballads and caravans of ragged wheat
and the smithereens of Antillean sperm candles,
from barbed wire and the funeral drums
within each rebel’s head.