Casandra Lopez


Casandra Lopez
 
When I Was a Young Girl
 
When I was a Young Girl By Casandra Lopez   Mother once told me a story. In this story a mother throws herself on to her son’s coffin, not wanting him   				to be lowered 				into the ground.   This mother soul sobs the way  only survivors can. A hunched  				rack of body, draping 			 				over slick coffin.    She is bones and lungs; needs to be pulled 		back and into arms.   				I find myself returning here  				often 				to this grieved need.  We had no coffin for Brother. Mother didn’t cry into  his casket. Her howls were kept  				hidden that day,  				twined sharp 				against muscle.  Later they would break 				free into porcelain sink while  								Brother’s body was at the coroner’s. There were papers to be filed,  a body to be 							dissected.   						 We try to right this– purify the desecrated–turn 				his body to ash.   				We try to right this.  				We try and try  				to right this.  				And I write this–fearing	 no one else will.   I return here  to Mother’s words  as they become mine  				but I can never finish  writing a mother’s loss– 			 Not when there are Mothers on t.v. Mothers in newspapers. Some made fragile; some made fierce  				 	by the theft of 		son or daughter   				Theft of  gravel 				and shovel, 				theft of name 				theft of future 				theft of mother 				and father  				theft of sister 				and brother 				theft of friend 				and lover 				theft of names		   some we will never know. 				 Who will hold these mothers up 				 							off of caskets, off of sinks. and into arms?
 
 
 
Casandra Lopez, a Chicana, Cahuilla, Tongva and Luiseno writer. She has a MFA from the University of New Mexico and has been selected for residencies with the Santa Fe Art Institute, School of Advanced Research and Hedgebrook. Her poetry chapbook Where Bullet Breaks was published by the Sequoyah National Research Center. She is a CantoMundo, Jack Straw fellow and a founding editor of As/Us: A Space For Women Of The World.

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