If it’s my turn tomorrow, I want to be the last one
Peruvian architect Cristina Torres-Cáceres’ text, written on the spur of the moment after yet another feminicide in 2017.
If I don’t answer your calls tomorrow, Mom. If I don’t tell you I’ll be back for dinner. If tomorrow, Mummy, you see that the taxi doesn’t arrive.
It may be that I am wrapped in hotel sheets, on a road, or in a black sack (Mara, Micaela, Majo, Mariana). It may be in a suitcase or abandoned on a beach (Emily, Shirley).
Don’t be frightened, Mum, if you see I’ve been stabbed (Luz Marina). Don’t scream if you see I’ve been dragged (Arlette). Mommy, don’t cry if they tell you they impaled me (Lucía).
They will tell you that it was me, that I did not scream, that it was my clothes, that it was the alcohol in my blood. They’ll tell you that it was because of the time, because I was alone. That my psycho ex had motives, that I had cheated on him, that I was a whore. They’ll tell you I lived, Mom, that I had allowed myself to fly too high in an airless world.
I swear to you, mother, that I died fighting.
I swear to you, dear mother, that I screamed really loud as I flew.
I swear to you, dear Mama, that I screamed really loud as I flew.
He will remember me, Ma, he will know that it was me who ruined him, because he will recognise me in the faces of all those who shouted my name at him.
Because I know, Ma, that you will not give up.But, however much you may want to, do not bridle my sister.Don’t lock up my cousins, don’t forbid your nieces anything. It is not their fault, mother, just as it was not my fault either.It’s them, it will always be them [the men].
Fight for their wings, since mine were cut off. Fight so that they are free and can fly higher than me.Fight so that they can scream louder than me.So that they can live without fear, Mama, just like I did.
Mommy, don’t cry over my ashes.
If it’s me tomorrow, mama, if I don’t come back tomorrow, destroy everything.If tomorrow is my turn, I want to be the last.
Note: Torres-Cáceres had written the text in September 2017, after the feminicide of Mara Castilla, a 19-year-old student killed in Puebla, Mexico, by the driver of a chauffeur-driven hire service she had turned to on her way home after a night out with friends. Castilla’s name is one of those that appear in brackets: they are all names of women victims of feminicide. In the original version, the text has no title, but today it is known as ’If I don’t come back tomorrow’ and is spoken of as a poem.
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