Historias en Hilo

after embroideries by the women of the CPR-Sierra from the Civil War in Guatemala

Here again women thread their stories:

of men arriving where men are disappeared

where even a dog’s left speechless but for a thin red drool

chasing a cat still under a tree’s thick green leaves,

stitched chickens lay flattened over their eggs

and a giant purple flower with a pink center sprouts

a sun on a stalk pressed to cloth—in stunned

silence they washed, washed and combed and spun thick

raw wool; in their mouths pause the needles they pull,


lo deje quebrada quemada

nuestro machetes;

how bright children’s blood tendered by the hands

of others, the dead mothers sutured to their cornfields

among skins and stalks stripped and split. The women’s

stifled screams—their cortas cast over their faces before

the soldiers’ slashes uprooted their tongues, their breasts

stained scarlet, yarn from their heartwood-soaked skeins.

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