conversations with la llorona iii

maria, maria, maria, my soul has undone itself &

now i am a flask filled up with firelight, mouthy

& wide-open like a summertime wound. thunderstorm

last night left a starling lying broken in the red mud

of grandmother’s garden, & i thought to name it after

you & her, both in such close proximity to death,

but not quite there. the bird is named nothing, though,

& my grandmother’s gasoline-yellow eyes watch its body

unwind & marrow into palmetto state dirt. o maria, how

does it feel to become fully content in chasing strangers?

you, the saint of undying; you have always owned the white

dress look. teach me to be ruthless & yet still lovely in the

becoming of all these eons of annihilation. all these eons

you & my grandmother will spend haunting.


Adelina Rose Gowans is a 17-year-old second-generation Costa Rican/Honduran-American writer and artist with a love for floral dresses and big skies. Her work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Hollins University, University of Virginia, Leyla Beban Young Writers Foundation, and elsewhere. She is previously published or forthcoming in Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing 2020, The Interlochen Review, The Minnesota Review, Storyscape Journal, Atlas + Alice, Barely South Review, and Cargoes, among other places. More of her personal projects can be seen at https://www.adelinarose.me/.