Hélène Cardona

posted in: Issue 1 | 1

Shaman in Residence


Halfway through the journey

she finds herself inside the whale,

confined to mull her condition over,

what led this far,

what lies behind the baleen,

what passageway to heed.

Memories transpire on the edge of iodine –

girl on a swing

deep blueness of lovers’ embrace

horses catching fish –

till ocean expels her on the shore,

diamond pain, weapon and jewel,

sea glass licked by the sun.

The way land greets her,

she enters this sacred

place called winter, elusive epiphany.

With a different face, liquid language,

she seeps into sand in search of treasures.


From Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013)


Picture of Helene CardonaHélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor. She is the author of Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry 2013), The Astonished Universe (Red Hen 2006) and the forthcoming Life in Suspension. She attended Hamilton College, where she also taught French and Spanish, the University of Cantabria, Spain, and the Sorbonne, where she earned a Master’s in American Literature. She taught at the Ecole Bilingue, Paris, and LMU, Los Angeles. She’s widely published in numerous journals and anthologies. Hélène translated the Lawrence Bridges film Muse of Fire for the NEA and What We Carry by Dorianne Laux into French, and the poetry of her father José Manuel Cardona, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Aloysius Bertrand, and Jean-Claude Renard into English. She received fellowships from the Goethe Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. Acting credits include Chocolat, Mumford, The Muppets, Serendipity, World War Z, Red 2, and Happy Feet 2. 

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