When did it begin? 
Intentionally buried. 

Don’t comment on screaming 
It didn’t happen— 
                               Did it happen? 

Maybe they didn’t think 
We’d hear. Of course 
They knew we’d fear it. 
Silence is memory, 
Black space in the mind’s violent eye. 
Silence is choice. 

Don’t comment on memory 
The screaming 
Didn’t happen. 

To erase, erasus 
From to scratch 
To scrape 
More at rodent to gnaw 
Of mention 
To forget 
The fact or condition 
Of forgetting 
Having forgotten 
The condition 
Or state of 
Being forgotten 
Or unknown. 

Corn is our history. 
Why is it called an ear? 
An ear hears and after 
Eaten the cob remains and remains 
And remains. 

Sugarcane, shiny reeds 
Who would count the inches 
Between sections of guitars, 
Staff for notes, staff 
For tuning circles, frets, 
Shadows in between 
Or the sweetness contained inside 
Telephone wires 
Let’s talk 
Like marionettes 
Little leather boots 
Against pregnant stomach. 
Is the uterus 
Pregnant or the 
Spiritbody within the spirit 
Or body. 
Can the spirit control anything? 

From frezzan to devour 
Akin to ezzan to eat. 
To eat or gnaw into, Corrode, Fray, Rub, Chaff, to cause to suffer 
Emotional Strain, Vex. To pass time as in fretting. Agitate, Ripple, 
Wear, to become Agitated. Grate. 

Hands of the puppeteer 
Atop the wood cross handle 
And the little hook 
To hang it up 
After playing extinct 
Would hang 
Like a good fall. 

A row of soldiers 
A row of bodies 
This is my row 
Row: a noisy 
Disturbance or quarrel. 

Fresh corn rows 
With silk tassels 
I can be tender too 
White and flattened 
On a stone. 
My sisters’ bones. 
Where are they? 
Stalls in pupils 
Between rows 
In the desert 
Utterance. History 
Of indigenous. 

The murdered women’s pictures 
Millions of self-portraits. 

From With the River on our Face (University of Arizona Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Emmy Pérez. Used with the permission of University of Arizona Press.