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Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez is Returned to Mother Earth, a Poem by Chella Courington

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Photo by Markus Spiske

At the border, children cry in cages.

Drenched in dark dreams, I wake.

My mother reaches from the grave. Nails catch the hem of my dress.

I fall on granite. Red streaks my shins.

Wrapped in a gray Mayan shawl, her mother is silent.

My father sits sobbing. Dust spots his black suit. Dried red roses

lay across his legs. Thorns pierce the wool.

Her father weeps.

#ClaudiaPatriciaGomezGonzalez. #Sayhername.

Just turned twenty. Taking flight from violence in Guatemala. Shot

in the head by a Texas border agent. May 23, 2018.

Mother and father receive the white coffin carrying their daughter.

Its cover lifted partway.


Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly and New World Writing. Her lyrical, flash novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage (Breaking Rules Publishing), is featured at Vancouver Flash Fiction. A 2020 Pushcart and Best Small Fictions Nominee, Courington (she/her) lives in California.

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