When you put on your white pañuelos
at the airport so I could recognize you, the crowd
edged away in fear. I embraced you,
but I carried my own fear, of colonels
and torturers, the bored voice of the embassy official.
Later, I was afraid of the waiter who brought tea
to my room each morning and looked
at my scattered notes from under the beetle-brows
of the security police. I remembered the advice
of friends, If you see the same person
in front of your hotel, take note.
The first time I went to the plaza for your weekly march,
I was afraid of the unmarked cars of the police,
the eyes of their video cameras through the car windows.
But you fanned out through the indifferent streets
as if you owned them, settling on the stone benches
of the plaza like a cloud of butterflies.
When you marched, I followed as I were following
holy footsteps. The rain that pummeled the square
filled my shoes, and the old masks fell away.
from Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Igneus Press, Bedford, NH, 1993, p. 15.