Hundreds, thousands lost. No trace, they say. And yet there’s the child on camera, in photos, terrified in cages or strewn across filthy floors with foil wrap as shelter. We need artists, creators of other worlds and dreams. We need painters, who render angels not forlorn, to draw spindly, fluid lines with pens in colored ink. Blue hues and red tints fused to stain an eagle in flames, or an orange phoenix resurrected from fire. Please, sketch the tender arms of a child no more than three, perhaps younger, perhaps older. Follow arcs and bends of prized brown skin and with skillful hand outline expansive wings like those of enchanted angels, angels with eyes melancholic. Hopeful. After the wings, take a razor, a blade and cut evenly, delicately. Carve ancestral names from clavicle to chest. Blood will ooze, trickle like ruby beads daubing tan skin forever marked to identify the unidentifiable. Inscribed like tattoos on bodies fragile and strong; promises whispered and broken. So much is broken. Transmigrating souls called infestations have been kidnapped and caged. There is tenderness here. That which we can’t see, we must learn to love most. We must learn to love like that. Ethereal, like a cloud overhead we’ll never touch or hold; we won’t cry in those celestial arms. We’ve entered another panorama willing to learn a different, noble love. Not a love that traps, confines and dies from suffocation, no not that. Love is never caged or gripped or captured. Love is not a cage with brown children. This is an emergency. With pencils, pens, paints, blades engrave smoothly, precisely to alert, to warn, to identify the lost, which are not lost, but held captive. Name them. Return them from the unholy hell now embedded in their flesh’s memory. As for the rest of us? To not forget, we invite you to brand us. With precision adorn our skin. With truth’s accuracy lacerate surfaces, decoratively, deeply and engrave upon our flesh doves, peace doves, flying to their freedom.
Emma Pérez is an American author and professor, known for her work in queer Chicana feminist studies.
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Posted: May 26, 2023 at 1:01 am