María Mercedes Carranza (1945 – 2003) is highly esteemed in Colombia and throughout Latin America for her frank, direct language that rebuts sentimentalism in the poetic treatment of romantic love, social relations, and national identity. The two poems published here (“This Hand Everyone Sees” [“Esta mano que todos ven”] and “The Heart” [“El corazón”]) come from her third book Hola, soledad [Hello, Solitude], published in 1987. They illustrate how Carranza’s disillusionment approaches the larger idea of what she called “the deterioration of hopes, of beliefs, of love—of deterioration in every sense.” They also exemplify many of her poems which, as the scholar Sofía Kearns noted, “reveal that the ultimate and maybe only reality is death.” Besides publishing five books of poetry, Carranza was influential in Colombian public life as a political activist, cultural journalist, and arts organizer. Her life ended in suicide in Bogotá at age 58.