Beatriz F. Fernandez

Beneath the strange still stars at Cinaron my remains
were scattered to obliterate my name— in vain, for it remains

shining from a different firmament— centuries having blown
past this time of ignorance to an era when a woman can remain

mistress of her mind and body, buy land and a home of her own,
even if she loves a man of power, as I did Orestes. I wished to remain

remote from the petty quarrels to which such men were prone,
free to chart the oceans of the night, where celestial bodies remain,

to teach how Apollonius divided by planes and sectioned the cone—
knowing no matter how many answers I found, more questions remain.

I sought no fame, the monks of Nitria martyred me of their own
volition, inflamed perhaps by the bishop Cyril, in what remains

a mystery to all who read my story, for how can truth be shown
where only scandalous lies and rumors smolder in the black remains?

They ambushed me, stripped me, scraped the flesh from my bones 
with shells of abalone and dragged my broken remains

through the streets of Alexandria, my limbs like firewood thrown
on a bonfire— all to feed the bloodlust of those men who remain

respected and sainted in the tomes of history, as well-known 
as I was forgotten— only disparate shreds of my knowledge remain.

You cannot unburn my flesh or books, or for these supreme sins ever atone,
but time has resurrected my name, and brought peace to what remains.


BEATRIZ F. FERNANDEZ is a university reference librarian in Florida.  She has read her poetry on WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station, was the grand prize winner of the second annual Writer’s Digest poetry award, and was featured in the Latina Book Club blog. Her poetry can be found at Boston Literary Magazine, FLARE: the Flagler Review, Northern Liberties Review, Spark: a Creative Anthology, Verse Wisconsin, and Writer’s Digest, among others. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2014 and her poetry chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, was just published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. Contact her at beasbooks.blogspot.com.

Ed. note: You can find this poem in Fernandez's Shining from a Different Firmament.