Obituaries for the Unnamed

I forget my own grief writing obituaries

for the unnamed. A mass grave in Ciudad Juárez

takes fifty more bodies this morning, the gluttonous desert

opening daily its appetite. In a dream, I wander

into a cave staked with corpses. I produce imprints

of their faces in my mind. I want to

save them from this brutal coil

of forgetting. How many of their names their loved ones

cried? How long ago? I dig deeper into the cave,

my brain swollen with faces, & their blood

pools up my ankles. Listen, the ones whose tongues

have not been severed want to tell us

their stories: late one night, a woman climbs

a bus back home from the maquila & ends

toothless & muzzled in a ditch. She’s mothered

a boy without a father, celebrated

her twentieth birthday in her mother’s house

with cake & cold Coronas. A father leaves

his son & wife to cross the desert

in the hollowed bottom of a truck. His gut hisses in the sun

-stunned metal, fighting other bodies for a breath.

Whatever air he wins is stale with piss.

The truck halts &, quiet, he waits, & waits &—

The dream ends. I shower. Rinse the salt

off my back. I drink black coffee. Eat cereal. I listen

to the news. Again, a mass grave opens in Ciudad Juárez,

& out there, another body flecks the desert’s mouth.