i found her.

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i found her
in the streets of Calama
fingers clutching papi’s portrait
with pools of tears welling
that pride would not let fall
dancing the cueca
with the ghosts
of los desaparecidos

i found her
dancing on the stage of a Kosovo brothel
purchased for pennies and
transplanted from village home
to gyrate for western dollars
clutched in the hands of men
who love the embrace
of 13 year old pussy

i found her
clutching 13 year old son’s broken body
pools of blood mixing
with dust and shrapnel
that clung to her burqa
after another bomb
claimed the life of its carrier
and all others
on the corner where he exploded

i found her
wilted in the corner
while blood
leaked from between 13 year old thighs
daddy’s whiskey breath
still clinging to her lips
with tears welling
that fear would not let fall

i found her
leaking life from between legs
lower abdomen and vagina
screaming in spasms of pain
village doctor
holding bloodied knife
that brought death upon birth
because daddy said
girl child bring no worth to family

i found her
staring back through the mirror
traced the outline of her scars
invisibly clinging to my skin
felt her fear
twist knots into my stomach
felt her pain
pulsing like life in my womb
and her grief
i felt it
as it carved names onto the surface of my heart

i found her
in you
and i found you in me
and together we
cried the tears she could not let fall
together we
made our pens spill the blood
of words she could not write
etched her stories
onto the pages of time
to stand in eternal testament
to the undeniable strength
of a woman.

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