(for Jennifer Harbury)*
1. I dream my husband is lost in the Paris subways again. Despite facility with maps and snatches of classroom French he cannot find his way above ground. I am planting trees in a razed country. In the morning we find each other, grateful that love comes to us like this at the breakfast table-- easy, familiar. It is spring and the daffodils instinctively poke through into bitter weather, never coming to flower. It is the same spring a woman sits on the long white steps, day after day, refusing to eat. 2. Sometimes love comes with a machete slung over one shoulder, speaking a language that is not our mother tongue, an uncertain dancer laughing at its own audacity. After that it cannot stop growing. Her nightmare was that he would die screaming. In the empty bed at night she feels the length of his body strapped to the table, the map of his wounds, hears the language of questions she knows he will not answer. What they tell her when she is awake is that he is lost. She wants a burial but there is no body and all the tables are laid with food she cannot swallow. 3. We only imagine the bodies of the constellations, holding the shapes together with dots of stars. She holds his body as an absence, bounded by flickers of memory, the geography of crushed desire aching on her skin. Sometimes love comes like a woman seeking the dead, willing to lose everything, except his bones, except his bones.
* Jennifer Harbury, an American lawyer, married Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, a Guatemalan rebel leader in 1991. Months later, she was told he had died in battle, but some claimed he was tortured and killed in prison. She mounted a tireless campaign to find his body, to find the truth. In 1995, she was at last told that he had been killed by a Guatamalan military officer on the CIA payroll.
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