sin nombre

© 2019 by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

for Johanna Medina Leon & Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, two trans women who died in U.S. custody after crossing the border


they still don’t know her name

they never did 

she was like a tumbleweed

the shadow cast by a shadow 

she came here to be safe

to earn money

to have her own life

she was part of a caravan

that was called by 

many ugly names

none of them fit her

her name was beautiful

the one she chose

they wouldn’t say it

told her she wasn’t 

a woman

told her to sit like a man

walk like a man

put her in isolation

because she was harassed

beaten in their detention center

she was raped by four men

before she left her country

crossed a border

a line drawn in the sand

by men who had stolen

the land from others

she complained of being sick

they wouldn’t listen

they denied her medicine


when she died

an autopsy found bruises 

on her body

still they refused to believe 

what  happened

refused to recognize her name

now we must

howl every day like the wind

shake the earth beneath them

never let them forget

her name