Poem by Melissa Roxas

by Melissa Roxas

Her red shorts were left
in an abandoned shack
a rag on the rotting wood floor
the heavy screen door, shut
the echo of her voice
a scrap between the cracks…


a fingernail.

It was said
two women and a man were spotted
somewhere along that road
in a solitary town two years ago
spotted? like cattle?
or deer in the wild?
ready for slaughter?

There is a hush
from the night child
that saw

his father knows

they come for him next

but who then


cries out

to stop the coming of the hour?


I could have been that woman

I was

that woman

but surfaced on the banks
of a dark river,
the moon, I didn’t see
but the light behind the folds
the shadow of a hand
before the blow to the head


it’s true about the light
the bright light you see
but no moan from the open mouth
only a song
the music of people
in my head

the child’s eyes
looking at me by the river
the broken back of her father
ploughing the miles of grainy fields
not his own,

I remembered the fly
on the lips of baby James
sucking his mother’s dry breast
his tiny hand searching the many folds.

A silent song
from the people
kept playing at my heart.

There is nothing else.

Asked if I was ready to die.
I said Yes.
For the people
I said Yes.

To Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeno, Jonas Burgos, and many more still missing. I get the strength to tell my story because it is also yours. We refused to be silenced.
For the people.
Surface all victims of enforced disappearances!
Justice for all victims of human rights violations!
End the madness.