Warmth from the Void
(Argentina, late 20th Century)

These are los desaparecidos of the century.
Those who vanished
from barrios, from calles, from cafés;
who are absent from the dance floor,
who cast no reflection
on the easel's wet forest.

See them incarnated from breath
condensing on clandestine walls.
Your sister remains a powerful absence:
even the air is not yet sufficient
to resume those sharp spaces.

She was questioned by the lip
that will yet be apparent, questioned by the fist
that will reappear at weddings and fiestas.
See the hand opening in benevolent gesture,
white-gold flash of the wedding band
as you shake extended fingers
that knuckled less softly when she was

violated otra vez; otra vez:
the lashing tail of the one
onward thrusting cell
reappears in the captive child
adopted by the palm
presenting him at the First Communion.
Fist that must be pried open
one finger at a time by
Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo.
until the child wriggles
into your rightful embrace,
ambiguous but warm.