When I die I want you to let the clergyman struggle with my last name until he says it right
CW: Death, racism towards immigrants
I sometimes dream of walking for so long and so far that I keel right over and die with dirt in my throat and dust in my lungs; I die with my mouth wide open but no one will take the time to look at my teeth, no one will look at me at all except to say “close your mouth we have more dignity than that here.”
I die and I don’t remember my name and I don’t remember who I was but I see a little angel fluttering by all dressed in navy and I grab him by the ankle and ask him:
who was I
what was I named
why did I try so hard
But he takes me by the jaw and pushes me hard and I land in a pile and break into 206 pieces.
I find an arm beneath me but it is not my own arm I find a leg on top of me but it is someone else’s leg
I think I see my head on another woman’s body, yes that is my skull off in the distance
I want to chase after it but my limbs, which are not my limbs, do not obey me.
I look down at the arm which is not my arm and I ask it what it used to be called.
I get no answer.
I sit in the pile of unnamed bones as a pile of unnamed bones and I wish for mouthwash
I wish to stop tasting dirt every time I breathe in
I wish I still had my teeth with me so someone could tell me what my name was
I wish that angel would come back and point me towards whatever I thought was so worth it
I wish I hadn’t left my rosary behind
When I wake up it is with both arms and both legs asleep
It is with a consumptive dryness in my mouth and a grief as heavy and debilitating as the desert sun
Garbage bags they buried them in garbage bags
Left them with no other name but “migrant body” and showed pictures of dirt covered jawbones in their articles
Because no one likes struggling with our names
But our bones are just bones are just bones are just bones
Rebecca Gomezrueda is a Philadelphia area writer. Her short stories and poems have
appeared in journals such as The Drabblecast, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Apocrypha and Abstractions, and Trouvaille Review. She is also the playwright of The Clinic, a short play that premiered in the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival with Lone Brick Theatre Company.