“Mother of the Disappeared” by Roz Spafford
From The Gospel According to Mary
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones
against the stones.
In the dream it is always the same:
They bring me his body, dressed
in something I have never seen.
The wounds are bruised and red
like eyes. Across my lap,
he is too long and too cold.
I wake to the taste of sour wine.
Who am I to think this cup should pass?
All history is this history:
Of firstborn, children found masked
with damage, martyrs to belief.
Women will stand in the Plaza de Mayo
with pictures of their lost ones,
calling my name,
covering their heads with white scarves,
covering my picture with small red handprints.
Who will be with me, now and at the hour?
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Roz Spafford Artist Statement:
Roz Spafford grew up in the 1950s, on a cattle ranch downwind from the Nevada Test
Site. Her stories and poems address how land and livelihoods are stolen and
contaminated, how all of us are shaped and misshapen by historical forces, how the old
stories that haunt us can be retold. Her origins are working class; she is white and
Canadian. “Host” appears in her first book of poetry, Requiem, which received the 2008
Gell Prize; it was published by Big Pencil press, the imprint of Writers & Books. A story,
“Drought,” received the 2010 David Nathan Meyerson prize for fiction from Southwest
Review. “The Season” received the 2014 Obsidian Award from High Desert Journal, and
“Watering Stones” was awarded the short-fiction award from New Millennium Writings.