Let's talk Latin America

A She-River Is Born, by Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes

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Chilean poet Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes is back on BristoLatino with another impacting piece of poetry. In December, we introduced you to her work with Wonder-Makers We Are,  and now we are lucky enough to be able to read A She-River Is Born.


In this poem, Consuelo makes obvious the inspiration she draws from the great Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. The influence of nature and indigenous peoples are awash at the beginning of the poem, much like in Mistral’s writing, but Consuelo pushes this notion forward. We see water as a force that takes us through the hardships of recent global history and perhaps Consuelo’s personal history; its scarcity is a spark which ignites division and worsens traumas. However Pachamama, the Inca goddess of fertility who sustains life, an often cruel mistress, comes forth and births a she-river, a source of female unification and mobilisation. A She-River Is Born explores further the notions of collectivity that we saw in Wonder-Makers We Are, and asks whether balance is possible in the global social and political climates of today. More of Consuelo’s works are available at Victorina Press or on her website.


A She-River Is Born

Water overflowed under bridges
Water wept for the Lenca and Miskito people
In Honduras
Water howled for the polluted fish in Chiloé,
it screamed for ancient, burned monkeypuzzles in
Lonquimay, Wijimapu and Pikunmapu
in the South of Chile
Water cried, wailed and sobbed
for the contaminated Quimi and Chuchumbletza rivers
and for the Shuar community facing death in Ecuador.

Water gushed out down her legs
Flooding mansions, huts, rucas and houses
Drowning pets and people …merciless
dragging them, enraged
along with stones, torn tree trunks
leaves and broken branches

The deluge of her body was final and deathly

There was no water
Only flames and faces with no names
In Grenfell Tower
Water was watering the gardens
Of the wealthy
across the street

There was no water for her
in Syria
only bombs drying out her tears
and Hamad desert burning her eyes

There was no water for her
in that marine room
of blue eyes and blue uniforms
of blue light, of blue electricity
shattering her blue body
and diluting it in aquatic nightmares

She wanted to drink from the Mediterranean Sea,
from the Pacific Sea
from the North and South Seas
But she ended up with her mouth full of salt…
silent, mute…

After the horrific wind
had torn away her house, doors and windows
water gushed out with swirling fury
from her womb
and dragged dogs, cats, horses, jaguars and rats
who with their panicked eyes
rushed to nothingness, desperate to survive

It rained, rained and rained
And at the end of the warm rain
Pachamama gave birth to this she-river
of women who weave resistance and rebellion
Their birth cry was


Ha nacido una ría

Subió el agua debajo de los puentes.
Sollozó por los pueblos lenca
Y miskito en Honduras
gimió por la comunidad Shuar,
aulló por los peces contaminados en
chilló por las araucarias incendiadas
en Lonquimay, Wijimapu y Pikunmapu
Lloró, gimió y sollozó por los ríos
Quimi y Chuchumbletza
agonizando en Ecuador

Corrió el agua por sus piernas
ordenó su casa,
la puso sobre barriles
pero el agua contaminada
que fluía a borbotones
la destrozó por completo

Su llanto subió a las nubes.
Se unió a la lluvia que
sollozando enfurecida
mojaba sus cimientos y los deslavaba,
los arrastraba furiosamente
junto con piedras, troncos de árboles
hojas y ramas

Se juntó la lluvia con la tierra seca
Y los goterones de su cuerpo cayeron
sin piedad
Creció el lodo del camino
que alguna vez caminó…

El agua le había faltado
allá en Siria,
cuando las bombas secaron todas las
y el desierto quemó sus ojos.

El agua le faltó
en esa habitación marina
de ojos y mamelucos azules
de luz azul, de la electricidad azul
en su cuerpo azul
que se diluyó en pesadillas acuosas

Quiso beber el agua
del Mediterráneo, del Pacífico,
del Mar del norte y del sur
pero terminó con su boca llena de sal,

Después del horroroso viento
que hizo volar su casa, sus puertas y
brotó el agua con furia arremolinada
desde su útero
y arrastró perros, gatos, caballos
jaguares y ratas
que con sus ojos llenos de espanto
se precipitaban a la nada.

Llovió, llovió y llovió
y al final de la lluvia tibia
Pachamama dio a luz a esta ría
de mujeres
que tejemos resistencia y sembramos
Al nacer gritamos



Header image- Valentina Huxley