Janice D. Soderling

Easter 1983

(i.m. Marianella Garcia-Villas, de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos)

A gaping gunshot wound in the side of morning.
Broken limbs sprawled
like abandoned nestlings.

O sister!

A defoliated tree nailed tight
to a brown sky.
Lips braver than instruments of torture
have stopped moving.
The grass burns blood-red.
The heavy steps of the earthquake
come ever closer.

Author's noteMarianella (sometimes spelled Marianela) García Villas, was cofounder and president of the Human Rights Commission of El Salvador, a non-governmental watchdog organization that covered the violence committed by government forces and right-wing death squads. In March 1983 she was captured in a conflict area where she had gone to document the use of chemical weapons by the army and was murdered after being tortured. I think of her every Easter.

Janice D. Soderling is a previous contributor to Protestpoems. Her poems with political themes have appeared in Montréal Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Apple Valley Review, New Verse News, nth position, and the sadly now defunct journals Green Fuse and Babel Fruit. Recent work at Studio, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Literary Bohemian, Lighten Up Online, The Flea, Orbis. She received the Harold Witt Memorial Award for 2010 Best of Volume from Blue Unicorn.

(author retains copyright)