Bio Note: I'm a regional VP of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. I'm retired from a career in manufacturing, union activism, and workforce development. For almost 8 years I have been in love with V-V contributor, Sylvia Cavanaugh. My first poem was published in 2009 at the age of 60.
Calle Londres 38, Santiago, Chile (38 London Street)
Londres 38, a former political prison of the Pinochet dictatorship, is now a museum project of the Chilean Commission on Human Rights. Over two thousand passed through this place. Some were held for a few days then released, scarred but still standing. Others, held longer, were tortured. Ninety-six were never seen again. Not by parents, children, lovers. Los desaparecidos they are called. Three thousand desaparecidos, from this house and other places. Last seen here, or in a northern desert prison, in a southern work camp, or bleeding under the Estadio Nacional de Chile. Three thousand now gone, disappeared. The 96 who were here, and then not here, are named on engraved bricks inlaid in the cobblestone walk outside the entrance. Beatriz Elena Diaz Aguero – 26. Carlos Alberto Cuevas Moya – 21; Barbara Gabriela Uribe Tomblay – 20. I fantasize that Barbara was a dangerous poet named after Gabriela Mistral. Are poets ever really dangerous? Artemio Segundo Gutierrez Avila – 23; Victor Alejandro Garreton Romero – 56; Marcela Soledad Sepulvedo Troncoso – 18. I wonder about Marcela’s second name, Soledad, solitude, how she died, how alone she must have felt at the end. There are 90 other names! In the torture rooms on the second floor there are several holes in the plaster. Were shackles anchored there? Was Victor Romero standing there, chained upright when he lost consciousness? On one wall a letter is inscribed from Muriel Navarette to Sandra Machuca after she disappeared: I remember when I met you in the house of terror. At that time my only light was in sleeping, and you were a miracle bringing light to my darkness. The steps to the third floor are blocked by a sign. Prohibido al ingreso. I obey.
Beyond the Calatrava in the harbor the freighters there, they come and go never mentioning Michelangelo
©2021 Ed Werstein
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