I try to explain there is a woven shawl of yours hanging by the door.
I try to explain the way you perfectly crushed the corn on the ironstone
when you prepared to make tortillas. Or the way you climbed fruit trees
for cherries and apricots. Or the way you ran through the cornfields at play,
or how your song silenced the night as you braided the hair of your sisters.
I try to explain the indecipherable language of the falling rain that howls the chant
of our Mayan ancestors, serenading you to the earth so your life may begin again.
All the flowers and kisses you laid at my feet I now rest them on your white coffin.
Even in the darkness, I see your eyes, your mouth, your hands, your hips–the child
that hid from thunder, the woman you became. I try to explain the color your lips turned
and the hole in your head. After all the traces of your breath have left the room,
after the perfume of your skin leaves your huipil, after the departure of your laughter,
after the candle burns and chrysanthemums die in your basket, I’ll try to explain
the unshakable choke of your absence, but only the wind will hear and carry my words.
In Memoriam Claudia Gómez González
Claudia Gómez González was not killed by a rogue border agent—she was killed by a rogue agency [The Nation]
Her name was Claudia Gómez, and Border Patrol killed her [Al Día]
‘Claudia was a good girl. Why did they kill her?’ From a Guatemalan village to death in Texas [The Guardian]
Muerta en la frontera [Diario La República]
Stephen Byrne is an Irish chef and writer currently living outside Chicago. His first collection ‘Somewhere but not Here’ won the RL Poetry Award, 2016 International category and was a finalist in the International Book Awards. He has been published worldwide in places such as Warscapes, Indian Review, Tuck Magazine, Rise Up Review, RædLeafPoetry-India, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology and many others.
Photo of Claudia Gómez González via her family.