The Dirty War in Argentina

ArgentinaShe opened a battered suitcase,
Old weathered leather cracked by years of tears.
She laid upon the kitchen table
Photographs, arranged like playing cards—
Members of her family who were abducted,
Disappeared inside the Dirty War of Argentina.
On top of the photographs, she laid a letter,
Hand written, faded but still clear,
Remarkably neat script of Father Bergoglio.
I cannot say what secrets are held within the heart of Francis,
Only that Catholic priests and chaplains played a central role
As up to 30,000 men and women (some pregnant),
Were tortured, murdered, bodies dumped at sea.
Priests blessed the torture chambers,
Absolved troops of sins after they drugged thousands,
Then dropped them out of planes into the Rio de la Plata.
Thousands of pages of documents kept secret
Within archives of the Church, after 35 years
Request to make them public still refused.
Carefully, so tenderly she places the photographs,
Documents and momentos back into the old leather suitcase,
Dark circles under her eyes from crying…..
She knows she will tell her story again and again,
Hoping it will lead to disclosure of the truth.
More than enough polite but meaningless words
Have been said about the missing and the dead,
And often a mocking tale or a laugh
Around the fire at the club.
Terrible pain flows out of my heart
On hearing this woman’s tale….
Though her voice is hoarse and angry,
There is no sweeter love than hers.
Those who are near to her
Are always present when she sings her songs,
Though summers years seem
Turned by cold winter into hardest stone.
When is suffering deeply felt
Enough in passing years?
When is a voice too tired
To murmur name by name,
As mother names a child,
As sister wonders about sister?
When are the dark dreams dreamed of the dead
Let go to sleep in peace?
When does grass that covers a grave
Change into terrible beauty?
Rest eternal grant them, Lord.
Hear her prayer and Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy.


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