Undocumented Specters: Mujeres, Migrations and “Ghost Stories”

A specter is haunting…

She was/is a ghost and this is not a metaphor. She was a ghost like all migrant women are ghosts to some degree. Like the thousands of archives that detail the daily activity of migrant women’s lives from WIC files to grade school records. Like emergency contacts and the sign-in sheets at the free clinic that document, well, no one really. Like the lack of a social security number and the false documents that someone needs to really exist, to really matter. And like the question, “do you or have you ever gone by a different name?” And the children now at a university writing as if in some sort of secret code, my parent’s pin number? 0000. They are the taken-for-granted existential impossibilities that come out of the woodwork in the middle of the night unseen to sweep and dust and make beds and care for children while mothers are away, while bankers and movie theater employees are asleep.

She crossed/crosses the borders between this life in the afterlife because she is what they call a successful migrant. She came/comes to me in my dreams because she did/does defy the modern states’ intolerance for ambiguity, the allegedly binary opposites of real/fiction, of legal/illegal. She was/is a successful migrant, a coyote. She reminds me that there are those who will relegate ghosts to the plane of superstitious fictions but that people, our people, can be and not be at the same time. Her ghost will not be white-washed. She demands to keep her terra cotta skin cared for for decades with dozens of esoteric pomades. She won’t have her tongue dismembered in her lands.

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