Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Among the Missing

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Among the Missing

Article excerpt

Girl who shares my name is missing.

The seventeen-year-old child of some mother

in anguish of not knowing

did not come home and now her picture hangs on this wall

with a dozen other pictures of missing.

I hear the voices speaking our name into the largeness

of what we don't understand. They call out

Daughter, where are you?

They are prepared to keep calling

until you answer.

I was wake with worry

and our only connection is this name

somehow thrown away on a snow drift in the deep of winter,

frozen solid in the seasonably below cold nights. If you were

my child, I'd check your room for drafts,

wrap an extra blanket over

your body just covering your head and the mass of hair on your pillow,

I'd watch you readjust in your bed; then turn to do the same

for your sister who already

anticipates our ritual.

If you were my child, how long ago would you have stopped

playing hide-and-seek and catch-me games? Would I

have been the watchful eyed mother on a bench at the edge

of the playground listening for the all-e-all-e-in-come-free chant

as the game ended? Or was I never there?

If you were my child, would I see signs of what pushed you

away or would my hold to a dream promised be illusions

blurring our vision of tomorrow will be different? …

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