When she came home she did not say a word
for a very long time.
The hours went by the tick of the lizards.
The holes in her eyes wouldn't leave us.
Barricades, poor wages, backbreaking work,
the women in the garment factory hurling their lunch pails
at phalanxes of soldiers on the picket line,
the men beaten up, fired at like woodpigeons in a carnival.
Now when she jerks her hand to reach out to us,
her scarred knuckles coil, gray as her argument, marked
where cigarette butts
had tattooed targets on a mesh of veins.
Under her skirt, they stuck a live cord,
ran current enough to light the bulb in her cell,
the blurred plot of her coded life,
her questioners getting edgier with each turn.
Reprinted with the author's permission from Puti/White, Toronto: Frontenac House, 2005
© Patria Rivera