by Felecia Caton Garcia

El Mozote, El Salvador, 1992

The afternoon rain rinses the small hand bones
of children. The archeologists lift stiff brushes

and carve the earth. Skeletal fingers clutch
a small orange plastic horse. Stiff brushes

clenched in their hands, they sift the red dust.
They whisper the names of the bones: tibia, metatarsal,

vertebrae. I want to send death begging on a train,
far from here and hungry. How far could death

get on an orange plastic horse? All around me
is the song of common words: mirror, comb, child’s shoe.

We are here to discover what happened then,
but I want to know what happens now.

The gray sky is a stroke of luck. My fingers
clutch the small hand bones of children.

-originally appeared in The Indiana Review