Argentine Family Rejoices
by Ruth Irupé Sanabria
-Title and excerpts from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sun., Dec. 23. 1979
The three met again,
in a leaping embrace
shortly before 9 p.m.
at a crowded National Airlines Concourse.
The solemn faced,
curly-headed little girl
reached out small hands-
to clutch at her father
as they swirled around together.
we ran off that plane fire chasing our bones.
His wife was white of face
after 26 hours in flight.
ribs and cheekbones
nose and elbows
here she comes,
carrying her fat, her fat
and rosy daughter.
plink pluck plink!
Earlier, Mr. S - carrying a bouquet
of red and white carnations -
had paced the concourse nervously,
not certain his wife would be on the flight.
"These flowers are of significance to us in remembrance"
He said in flowing Spanish "Red
is significant for it is the color of passion."
The photo is the first of us as a reunited animal.
How can I describe us? It is not obvious
that his arm bone does not comfortably connect
to her shoulder bone, that my thigh bones
doubt her hip bones, and that her wrist bones wrestle
a strange desire to strike
head bone. A photographer
hands me a toothpick
with an American flag glued to it.
My mother grabs my hand,
instinctively. A bulb explodes. The caption reads
"Flowers, a flag and a loving touch"
It was the first reunion for Mr. and Mrs. S
and their 4-year-old daughter
since Argentine police arrested the parents
at their home on Jan. 12, 1977
and imprisoned them on
Mrs. S. commented that she had been kept
in a 9-foot by 9-foot prison cell
for almost three years and thousands
like her are still in prison in Argentina.
"Yesterday was the first time in three years
I have been able to touch my daughter" she said.
I vomited in the clouds
above the ocean
between Buenos Aires and New Orleans,
I vomited my grandmother's food
upon my mother's lap.
One stewardess gave me a hard American mint,
red and white, to suck on
and pinned a pair of plastic wings to my chest;
said it was the shock of clouds
that had made me sick.
Ruth Irupé Sanabria is a poet and activist. She was born in Argentina and grew up in Washington D.C. Since 1993 she has lived in New Jersey.