A Single, Numberless Death
CRISTINA DE LA TORRE
We shall not permit death to run rampant in Argentina.
'Admiral Emilio Massera, 1976
A certain perverse magic turns the key to the front door. Steps rush in. Three pairs of shoes practice a disjointed stomp on the floor, the clothes, the books, an arm, a hip, an ankle, a hand. My body. I'm the trophy of the day. A hide with hollow head, eyes of glass. The make-believe hunters step on me. Step on a crack, break your mother's back.
This ritual exorcises my sins inside their temple: a green Ford Falcon with no license plates speeding through red lights up the wrong side of Corrientes Street. No one bats an eye. It's business as usual.
But it's not every day (or is it?) that the laws of gravity are broken. It's not every day that you open the door and four rooms are ripped apart by a cyclone that shatters the past and yanks the hands off the clock. It's not every day that mirrors crack and costumes unravel. It's not every day that you try to escape and the clock has moved, the door is unhinged, the window stuck, and cornered you cry through minutes that do not tick away. It's not every day that you stumble and fall hands behind your back, trapped in a night that tosses about shreds of daily life. Dizzy, you whirl in a vortex of scraps of yesterdays and nows crushed by orders and decrees. You get lost amid chairs overturned, drawers emptied, suitcases torn open, colors blanched out, maps slashed, roads severed. You barely make out the echoes reverberating “You thought you could escape, bitch!” as an enormous mouth devours you. Familiar voices perhaps whisper, “She hasn't done anything, neither has he.” But you are here, on this side, in this pre