Grave Robber

I like to think

that if my father were here,
he’d say, “I wish you could have known them”
or, “You have Gonzales eyes.”

But how can he say that
when his lifespan fits within fists
between DNA results and November 23rd,
when my newfound sister told me he was dead?

Ancestral archives:
a shoebox full of dotted lines
too few and far between

How am I going to find those two gravestones?
Gray pebbles in a field of swaying grass.

Wish it were the other way around.

Grandparents wading through chest-high feathers,
trampling the border wall
that separates this world from the next…


But no.
They do not know my name.

Genetic Science has split my handbook in half.
Rendered my body into gaps between bones,
left me in a patch of yellow marigolds,

a bewildered grave robber
showering in her own blood

a specter rubbing crimson-veined
stories into her own

like a tattoo that won’t wash off.

Kimberly Vargas Agnese

Kimberly Vargas Agnese grew up believing she was a third-generation Hungarian American, with possible ties to Jewish and Romani communities. Then she received the results from a DNA test and discovered that her biological father was actually a first-generation Mexican/Native American. This revelation fueled her desire to advocate within a historically-oppressed community in the only way she knew how: Poetry. As a Chicana poet, Kimberly has been published in “Anacua Literary Arts Journal,” “SHIFT Magazine,” and “The Seventh Wave,” among others. Kimberly’s full-length collection, “Red String on a Saguaro Cactus,” was named a finalist for the 2022 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, awarded biannually by the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. To read more of Kimberly’s work, please visit
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