Hey, listen. Don’t lose hope.
Just know that this glorious city of ours holds so much
more inside of her alleys and adobes than monsters and meth heads.
I know what it feels like to wake up each morning and search
for just one reason to hold onto hope.
I know that sometimes the bad far outweighs the good and I know
that my not good enough words are nothing like jackhammers.
They are whispers, wisps,
tiny drops of water disappearing into an endless and angry sea.
But I won’t stop and don’t you stop.
I can’t speak to you directly of her because
I didn’t know her.
What I can speak to you about
is the way my daughter’s blond hair
used to fall across her cheek when she was ten years old.
That her smile was pure sunshine and sometimes
just the sight of that would almost break my heart with joy.
I can tell you that evil walks this world on two feet
wearing sneakers or flip flops,
that the human heart is a labyrinth, a dark and frightening maze.
Albuquerque, we grieve as a city.
Our tears seep into the cracked and dry dessert,
onto the dust which surrounds her so sad grave.
These same tears also water ocotillo and pinon.
They rise like hot air balloons.
Did you notice that on the day of her death
you could smell fall in the air?
As if the entire earth had put its foot down
and declared you shall have not one more moment
of sweet summer in the face of this travesty.
All of this - the prayers, the sobbing,
the broken fucking hearts - comes together and holds her
tight, wraps her in feathers and the kind of bubbles
little kids play with in the bathtub.
Combs her hair softly before bed and reads her a story
about a castle and a dragon.
A fairy tale of warmth and love and human fucking kindness
and I don’t know
what kind of mother doesn’t love her daughter like that.
I don’t know.
I could have written this entire
poem to just say I don’t know because
I don’t know how we have come to this place.
What I do know is that I have spent
days crying, that my heart is shattered
like yours, that we cannot change what happened.
We cannot take away the blood, the pain, the fear.
What we can do is drop
our versions of sunshine & glitter into the world.
We can send them out day after day after day.
Even if we don’t see them come back to us, even
if we don’t know where they have gone.
I can assure you. Love makes a difference.
Love. I want to speak to you of love
but what about justice and what
about this wild rage in my chest?
We need to understand this.
she was not alone.
There are children in this world,
right this second, in situations of grave danger.
They cannot defend themselves because their hands
are too small and their hearts are too sweet.
I ask today that you hold onto hope.
That you heal one thing
even if it’s just yourself and then do it again
tomorrow, and the next and the next.
Because sometimes this is all that we can do.
For Victoria Martens, who died on August 24, 2016.