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Home / Issue 36 / FACING THE CHAIR


By Mary Crow

María is a fan of Violetta Parra and Victor Jara,
songs echoing the depths of the football stadium—
a slight murmur of Death hums in their chords.

She believes in Justice and has spent her lifetime
trying to define it, no easy task in the shadow
of the Chicago boys who trusted in Money.

Honey, what can I say? To succeed, one has
to break a few bones, one has to practice singing
the right songs, tapping across ballrooms.

The branch will break and if you’re perched
out there, you’ll fall too and maybe no one can
catch you. Thieves we have always with us.

Chile may be the skinniest country in the world,
blue glaciers calving at one end, earth’s driest
desert at the other, CIA meddling in between.

María sits in Providencia reflecting on her research
into the education of torturers, how they hit on
such clever tricks, how they compose anti-matter.

She reflects on how cleverly they rendered so many
death sentences without trials or even charges. No
testimony, no kneeling, but verdicts above all else.

María beguiles herself that reality fades away
each night and doesn’t always return the next day.
Her body remains a bag of fat full of worms,

but she wakes to a country that’s a panorama
where butterflies and birds grown flabby on potatoes
or wheat can’t be confiscated for a Five Year Plan.

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