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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Juan Carlos Galeano


Mitad mujer-mitad pez, las Iaras enamoran a los hombres

que buscan aventuras y riquezas en la selva.


Sólo para cantar sin tener que cocinar viven las Iaras.


(Para los biólogos son vacas marinas asoleándose en las orillas.)


Sus canciones curan heridas que las gentes hacen en los ríos.


A los pescadores que no han cogido nada,

las Iaras prometen caricias todo el tiempo.


Quienes prueban de su miel se quedan en los ríos para siempre.


En cualquier lugar, una mujer cantando o peinándose el sexo

puede ser una Iara.


Half woman, half fish, Yaras seduce men in search of

adventure and riches in the jungle.


Yaras live to sing and don’t have to cook.


(Biologists argue that they are merely manatees sunbathing along

the shores.)


Men inflict all kinds of wounds on the rivers—

wounds cured by songs of the Yaras.


The Yaras offer easy love at any moment to fishermen in need.


Those who taste the Yara’s honey stay in the jungle forever.


A woman anywhere, singing or combing her pubis

could be a Yara.


Juan Carlos Galeano was born in the Amazon region of Colombia. He is the author of Baraja Inicial (poetry, 1986), Pollen and Rifles (1997) a book on the poetry of violence, and Amazonia (poetry, 2003), Sobre las cosas (poetry, 2010), and Amazonia y otros poemas (poetry, 2011), and Historias del viento (poetry, 2013). He teaches Latin American poetry and cultures of the Amazon basin at Florida State University.


James Kimbrell is a North American poet, critic, and translator. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. He teaches poetry and he is the director of the creative writing program at Florida State University.

Rebecca Morgan’s translations of Latin American and North American poetry have appeared in the United States and Latin America. She works as a language education consultant and teaches Spanish in coastal Georgia.

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