Olga Nolla
  • Olga Nolla
  • I love being a woman
  • to be forty years old
  • to be mistress of my life
  • to fall in love with men
  • to easily forget men
  • to write my poems
  • to cook aromatic dishes
  • to fix exquisite traditional dishes
  • to talk about hunger with my men
  • to dress sensually with lace and silks
  • to undress sensually
  • to wear red shoes
  • to grow my hair real long
  • to paint my toenails
  • to dream of the novels I plan to write
  • to see movies made by women
  • to listen as the rain collides with the air
  • to listen to thunder
  • to run the waves in my car inflamed
  • and to give you the apple, Adam
  • eat it, eat it.

— translated by Paula Vega

Olga Nolla was born in 1938 in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, to a prominent Puerto Rican family. Her father was an agronomist and her mother a poet. She graduated in 1960 from Manhattanville College and then returned to Puerto Rico where she married and had two children. She became a journalist and then a professor at what is now Universidad Metropolitana, where she taught Spanish, art history, and humanities. A committed feminist, she participated in the Federation of Puerto Rican Women and was editor of its magazine, Palabra de Mujer, in 1976–1977. She is the author of the historical novels El Castillo de la Memoria and Rosas de Papel and several volumes of poetry. She died in 2001 while visiting her children in New York. “The Manifest” appeared in Paula Vega’s translation in the anthology These Are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women, published by White Pine Press. The poem is reprinted by permission.

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