A Woman of Color Has Gone Missing, In Three Parts

Below are three poems that were recently rejected that are a part of a set. I wanted to share them here. These are meant to highlight the tragedy of the number of missing women of color in the United States.

GONE

Is the wait 48 hours
Or 24? Or, do we call
Now, shout her name
Drive through streets
And beg those looking
On, toward our Holy
Guardians, of the
Crossroads, to conjure
Our daughter, sister,
Mother, grandmother,
Newborn infant in
Folds of her hospital
Gown, wedding dress,
School uniform, work
Clothes, where did she
Slip, down the light
Filtered crevice of a
Long forgotten canal
Abandoned gold mines
Radiating heat, but you
Said she was with her
Friend, lover, on her way
Alone, walking down
This single road, and she
Is not here now, and she
Is not calling, and it’s
Time to scream her name
Into the universe so that
Her blood may vibrate
With the knowing of
Your longing for her to
Just walk in through that
Front door, of Christmas
Birthdays, graduations
And moments, and you
Praise, each and every
Saint whom your lips
Can utter, and when
You finally make that
Call to the authorities
They tell you to wait

CASE

They say she left on her own
She did not leave on her own
They say she will come back
Home, it’s been months and
Newspapers won’t print her
Name, television won’t show
You her face, the internet is
Burgeoning with irrelevance
And yes, detective, I have
Called all of her friends, and
She is not a runaway or any
Of those other names that
Are said to discredit the value
Of their lives, of her life, and
Now it’s been years, are you
Still working the case? Maybe
You can tell me anything, it’s
Been a decade, and I feel this
Cold pressure in my womb
Where I grew her, did you want
To see a picture of her from
Her graduation? She was so
Beautiful and she was going to
Buy me a house, she always said
“Mommy, I’m going to give
You the stars,” and I would say
“No mí hija, tu eres mi estrella”
And now at night when I look
Up into the celestial body of
Creation I only see darkness

BODY

You’re at a party and your tiá pulls you aside, and tells you how you look so much
Like that one cousin, from that one aunt, from maybe it was from your father’s side
Of the family, who went missing so long ago, and they never found her body, que
Pobrecita, and she was going to be a doctora, studying late into the night, working
Into the twilight hours, between school and work, she never slept, and maybe it was
Her boyfriend, or that other man who eyed her that one day on that one block and
Beeped his horn and drove around back through the street just so that he could smile
And she said his smile was all sharp teeth and blood stains, and that was so long ago
We should not talk about those things, and yes, she was your age, and yes, she was so
Beautiful, and yes, what a doctor she would have been, and her mother cried every
Night, and they found her mother years after her daughter went missing clutching a
Sun-worn, tear-stained picture of her in her quinceañera dress, dead in the kitchen
Her heart split in so many pieces, and there was no more life worth living when
So much had been taken for perhaps just a few moments of violation, I can’t think
Of this anymore, so let’s have another drink, but there’s rumors her body was found by
A coyote in a canyon, but let’s never talk about these things, and forget how scared
She might have been when she was pulled, pushed into a car, driven someplace that Was not her home, touched and taken by someone who was not her love, and Discarded away, fluttering in the wind like prayer flags, her memory now joined forever With the missing and murdered, forgotten and ignored, women, our women, our little Girls