They wrote about it in the newspaper: how I
hung up on the woman who called and said,
I have found the body of your missing sister
because I didn't believe there is a place called Blue Earth,
Minnesota. Because I am no longer related
to my sister. Because I do not care for
these kind of mysteries and I do not invite
old ghosts into my house.
But of course that wasn't the end of it.
My brother checked the map of Minnesota.
He had men dispatched to investigate the story,
which involves a pickup on a rainy highway,
a murder, a dead girl without a name,
an unmarked grave, a set of dental charts,
a Midwestern mom who decided to be
a forensic detective. Thank you to the TV
and movie industry for suggesting
that in modern times, everyone can
and should be found.
Here is the truth: she was a stepsister.
We couldn't stand her. She was disturbed
and dangerous: angry, medicated, mean. And she was
also a girl, a human, a sweet baby once,
someone who knew her told me. She liked the Beatles,
she had a talent for art,
and in 1979, she got up in the middle of the night
and walked off into oblivion. They wrote about it
in the newspaper: No trace was ever found.
Now we await the DNA results and dream
about graveside visits, court-ordered exhumations,
and tell each other. Daddy would want us to find out.
Late at night, we call each other, hooking into the power
grid, the billion zillion volts that hum between
D.C. and New York, to ask again. How much,
really, do you remember?
as if we were doing this only by dead reckoning,
also lost and crazy, or else as partners in whatever
turns out to have been the crime.
--- From Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds
©2005 Sarabande Books