The adrenaline addiction was the biggest
problem after two or three years. I learned
their laughter before code names,
but sometimes it was the other way around.
Her code name was Daphne. No other students
were invited. She recruited me in September
of 1983. I should have died but the devil
did not want me. We lost our taste for food.
We got used to each other’s silence.
We became addicted to pills. Like that, we lived
half useless, but the other half drank cheap
whiskey to forget that some of us might die.
How everything changed for me in Chile.
The sun used to rise between the mountains,
but now it fought its way into pollution and darkness.
Nobody bothered to love anyone too long.
They opened the door,
she saw their faces
covered with white feathers.
The long honey hair
strewn, on the floor.
The long curls-
she saw the sea
algae along the coast
of the Pacific Ocean.
“I want to be someone
else, but keep my dress, I want my dress
my shoes and my pink rosa underwear.”
A flood of tears
fell through their eyes.
They tried to hide them.
They didn’t say one
word as they finished shaving her
imperfect round head.
Mariela Griffor was born in the city of Concepcion in southern Chile. She attended the University of Santiago and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She left Chile for an involuntary exile in Sweden in 1985. She and her American husband returned to the United States in 1998 with their two daughters. They live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. She is co-founder of The Institute for Creative Writers at Wayne State University and Publisher of Marick Press. Her work has appeared in periodicals across Latin America and the United States. Mariela Holds a B.A in Journalism and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New England College. She is the author of Exiliana (Luna Publications) and House (Mayapple Press).She is Honorary Consul of Chile in Michigan.