Purchase Issue 5

Purchase Issue 5


Mike Soto

The Dead Women of sumidero

The killers went to no trouble covering
the bodies no black plastic bags no lids

on barrels knowing vultures would bury
them in a lone cloud every day women

rouse out of sleep sit up thousands
in the blue black light to catch

hour-long buses in lots their bodies
know by memory by early morning

plants hum with the gloved hands
of women assembling screens all kind

& size LED LCD plasma touch
for smartphones & tablets shantytowns

leap into the desert to meet the demand
at the end of a long week golden arms

dangle out of sport utility vehicles men
catcall in elaborate necklaces step out

& tap snakeskin boots to music no one
will tell them is too loud women with

their own money might smile or refuse
in the wrong manner it’s absurd to say

these were not murders of passion but
the media says the impossible imagine

no bars over windows & doors these
neighborhoods with no layers of graffiti

competing incessantly to stay king a body
appears along a highway no one discusses it

then a chicken farmer finds seventeen
it takes a number to shock people now

you might think a match cannot be struck
on such a suffered surface no one shouts

no one snaps no one has had enough
but then a mother’s heart & mind go blank

screaming attacking accusing everyone in front
of the station the whole world of murdering

her youngest a dancer who had no silicon
implants coroners could use to identify her.


Read five poems from Khaled Mattawa in the print edition of The Arkansas International 5.



Mike Soto’s poems have recently appeared in Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review, Fugue, The Boiler, and Rust + Moth. He received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence, and currently lives in Dallas. His website is mikesoto.com.