Uncanny Vale

Home to the Literary Creations
of Erin Wilcox

Humberto, I Just Saw the News

Stoneboat (2011)

My husband and I were in the middle of an argument, he saying, Come off it and spend time with me! when your picture came up on the CNN website. Slumped and forward-reaching, you were surrounded by an armed escort, men with guns, on your way to the Spanish consulate after your kidnappers released you. Mandy called all the people she knew in high places. She left work at the firm, turned her back on demanding cases and went home sick, she whom you wouldn’t marry because you wanted to be free, to do good works. You gave up her love, and a Visa, to plant gardens with orphaned children in Palestine. I have to wonder, Humberto, because I only met you a couple times—though I enjoyed your art on the wall, geometric splashes of reds and blues like Rothko—will you still want this life? You look so crestfallen, wilted in that photograph. When men in black hoods threw you in their car and drove away, did it change for you the meaning of language? When the blunt point of an automatic cooled your skull, what happened to words like salaam, paz, peace?