Wednesday, April 04, 2007


What did you say - they found another one?
I can't hear you - this morning
another one floating in the river?
talk louder - so you didn't even dare
no one can identify him?

the police said not even his mother
not even the mother who bore him
not even she could
they said that?
the other women already tried -
I can't understand what you're saying,
they turned him over and looked at his face, his hands they looked at,
they're all waiting together,
silent, in mourning,
on the riverbank,
they took him out of the water
he's naked
as the day he was born,
there's a police captain and they won't leave until I get there?
He doesn't belong to anybody
you say he doesn't belong to anybody?

tell them I'm getting dressed,
I'm leaving now
if the captain's the same one as last time he knows what will
that body will have my name
my son's my husband's
my father's name
I'll sign the papers
tell them
tell them I'm on my way,
wait for me and don't let that captain take one step closer to him.

tell them not to worry:
I can bury my own dead.

Ariel Dorfman

(I think the above poem is... incredible. One of the best, most moving things I've ever read.)


Elliot said...

Hmm. What do you think is happening exactly? Is it really a relative of the woman, or does she adopt everyone who has no one?

Anactoria said...

Wow, its hard because there are so many ways you could take it...

1 - It is the speaker's relative

2 - She adopts anyone who is unidentified.

3 - (And this is the one I lean towards) She is missing so many family members that even if this one is not hers she will try to make out that they are so that she'll have finally 'found' someone, anyone. E.g. As soon as she finds he doesn't belong to anybody, she starts to get dressed.

But its confusing because what does she mean when she says "if the captain's the same one as last time he knows what will happen."

Maybe by that she means that she has a tradition of claiming anyone left unclaimed as her own so that they don't go nameless. And in that case #2 would fit best.