Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Andrena Zawinski: The Disappeared

for Mayra Solis, Rosanna King, Kavitha Sreeharsha, Rafia Hussain

Across the sprawling green of lawn commemorating another Dias de Los Muertos, pink crosses stagger the walk for the murdered women of Ciudad Juárez, thousands missing or dead over the years.

A procession of candles sputter and spark for a school house splattered in blood, its Amish girls gunned downed by a milk truck driver with three guns and a grudge in West Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

Muffled prayers petition the October air for women packed tight in shipping containers across the Pacific Northwest, to appear indexed on packing lists masked as menus: lo mein, satay, kimchi, pho.

Frankincense smolders for those who vanish, shadows in the streets, whole countries disappearing under the weight of burqas. It burns for all of those who are not, for all of those who never will be.


Author’s Note: Mayra Solis was a Juárez sex murder victim. Rosanna King was a child paralyzed from the Nickel Mines shooting. Kavitha Sreeharsha worked to end human trafficking. And Rafia Hussain was a fourteen-year-old electrocuted in her burqa by her father for not marrying a relative.


Copyright 2017 Andrena Zawinski. From her collection Landings published by Kelsay Press.


(From top left) Claudia Gonzalez, Guadalupe Luna, Mayra Reyes Solis & Laura Ramos Monarrez, victims of murder in Ciudad Juárez.

One comment on “Andrena Zawinski: The Disappeared

  1. Andrena Zawinski
    April 9, 2018

    Thank you for the photos of Juarez victims. I carried a small black cross with Mayra’s name around with me until her body was found at the time of writing this poem, ironically.

    Liked by 1 person

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