disappearances

CW: ABLEISM, DEATH, VIOLENCE

IN MEMORY OF 19 MURDERED AND MANY MORE INJURED IN SAGAMIHARA.

On July 26, 2016, around 2 am, a former employee broke into a home for people with disabilities in Sagamihara, Japan. He murdered 19 residents. He said he wanted disabled people to “disappear.”

Some nights I believe in evil.

Some nights I leave my window open

because my skin's too hot to sleep.

I don't know you

but I know you were like me.

I know that some nights their pity

kills.

Most nights I know he lied

when he said we aren't worth

the years we have in us.

Was it warm

when you

died?

I'm sorry.

It was2:20 am.

You were

5,194 miles

from me.

(I didn't know to visit you.)

I opened my window

and I could feel:

19 throats

19 hearts

and me (and us) learning how to believe in you sliced open

learning how to be haunted

by you.

I've never known a hotter summer

across all of our oceans.

My air

blisters with your

absence.

STEPHANIE STEIN is a poet with a love of languages. Her work has been featured on Monstering and Red Wheelbarrow. She was a poetry editor for the 2017 Student Edition of Red Wheelbarrow magazine. She was an advisor for the Hollows Shout the Mountain Down collaborative writing workshop with Monstering and Winter Tangerine. Previously, Stephanie worked on various research and writing teams in the high tech field. Now, Stephanie is pursuing a master's degree in linguistics at San Jose State, where she is also seeking a computational linguistics certificate. You can find her on her Tumblr.