Desaparecidos

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Desaparecidos

Last year, in Fredericton Mall,
a mother lost her little girl.
They found her in the women’s washroom
where two old ladies were cutting off her hair
and dressing her in a young boy’s clothes.

Wanted in Winnipeg.
Vanished in Vancouver.
Cheap alliterations in tabloid headlines
disfigure each tragedy.

Sometimes we think we recognize their faces.
This young girl with an old woman’s body
standing at a Yorkville window.
That other girl on Yonge Street
selling her body for drugs.
That flash of underage flesh
mounted by strangers
and glimpsed in a pirate video.

Do you call for call girls when you travel?
That midnight knock on your hotel door
is someone’s missing daughter.
You saw her once before on an airport advert
or on the carton of milk you opened
for your family’s breakfast.

What traveling salesman would you trust
to take your only daughter’s body and treat it well
while she promised him the sexiest time
he would ever have?

But in Goya’s Spain
it’s the males who disappear
usually during the night.

Most times, their families never see them again.
Sometimes, as in this etching,
their bodies are found, nailed to a tree
or dumped in a side street with the garbage.

17 thoughts on “Desaparecidos

    • I tried to link the passage of time, the Napoleonic Wars and the Spanish Peninsula, with modern day disappearances. In more than one way, such things have always been with us. Alas, both sexes have suffered, the women more than the men in times of peace and war. Goya’s lithographs The Disasters of War are just overwhelming. This is a Golden Oldie resurrected. I had forgotten about it and discovered it in my notes.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Disturbing is a great word: thank you. I discovered this among my old poems. It is previously unpublished. I revised it this morning. Heart-breaking really. I remember when we used to have the faces of missing persons on our milk cartons. So hard to look at over breakfast.

      Liked by 1 person

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