Julia Rios: Eliza, your piece ties together some of the strong themes of this issue in its exploration of the way people and places are buried and rediscovered, forgotten and remembered. Though tractors pulverize the land and turn people into rubble, the mother in your prose poem does not stay rooted in anger. Instead she comes to feel protective of every pebble. The world is in a constant state of flux, and all of us are part of that. To what extent should we preserve past things, and how can we continue to survive and create anew responsibly?
Eliza Victoria: That’s an interesting reading. I wrote the part about the mother to highlight the fact that if you don’t know where someone is, then they’re everywhere. And if they’re everywhere, everywhere is sacred. With the body embedded in the landscape, even a pebble cannot be dismissed.
To what extent should we preserve past things? I cannot say “completely” with determination – in the context of the personal this is considered unhealthy: consider the mother whose son has died and who keeps her son’s room the way it is when he left, like an altar – down to the bed sheets, the posters on the wall, the unopened gifts. One must not do this, one must “move on”. But in the context of the public sphere this is acceptable: we build monuments, we leave the blood streaks untouched, we show videos of the torture.
But I believe this: we must remember. And we must write what we remember, and write it accurately, in case the memory, or the physical proof, gets lost.
My deepest thanks to Rose and Julia and my co-authors.