Poem, Poetry

Pete Mladinic

The Graveyard Shift

This is my son, Mr. Flores,
Eduardo, a good boy,
in second grade this year.

He was just one
when, the first day of class,
you called my name,

Estella Gutiérrez.
I raised my hand.
Then, absent from all classes,

absent forever.
My corpse found three days later,
shot, beaten, stabbed.

I didn’t see my murderer, Mr. Flores.
As he broke my nose
blood trickled down my chin.

You stopped shopping at the Quick Stop,
as did others, outraged
that I was alone

on the graveyard shift.
I can’t undo what’s been done,
but if I could I’d tell Eduardo,

“Mind your sisters, stay in school.”
Mr. Flores, my professor
for a day,

your Essentials of Sociology
lay open on the counter that night
I never heard the door open.




Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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