“Weird Babies”: Two poems by Jeni De La O

Conversational Spanish

pay gar(d) la go-rrah:
we are broke and we love Jesus, the way only broke people can.

oh-(h)allah, cay? you eva cafe en el camp-o: Lets drink wine, a lot of wine. Miracles of wine.
And when the water comes, or the fires burn, pray like only the washed away can pray.

poor, see las mos-cas: Before the limes rot and before the balance goes inevitably goes red; to scrub our porches clean with hope, and ward off everything (good or bad) we laugh and drink
and wait and pray and slowly measure out our graves.


Thin Air

It’s like she disappeared

right out of the air

She was about a block and a half away from the school when

she disappeared

[Redacted] was in good spirits

the day before she disappeared.

Friends say it’s unlike her to disappear

for so long.

On the night she disappeared,

the 15-year-old attended a disco across the broder in Donegal.

At the time she disappeared,

[Redacted] was only wearing a zip-up sweater, spandex pants,

athletics shoes and a plastic poncho.

[Redacted] said she kept in regular contact with her sister

until she disappeared

The daughter of a missing flautist has said her mum was

“incredibly happy” before she disappeared

five days ago.

Officials said she was supposed to meet with someone

on the night she disappeared.

Police say [Redacted] force [Redacted]’s three daughters to take a sleep aid

the night she disappeared

but one spit the medicine out and heard her mother and [Redacted] arguing.

Friends of [Redacted]’s reported her missing to San Bruno police

about a week after she disappeared.

The day she disappeared,

[Redacted] called out sick from her job as a letter carrier at the U.S. Postal Service.

Her body was discovered

a day after she disappeared.

Body of missing activist, 28, is found in an Ohio river

two months after she disappeared

Two British men ‘forced’ a ‘fearful’ Latvian waitress into their car before

the woman disappeared.

The teenager, [Redacted], is said to have left her phone and suicide note at her home

the night she disappeared.

Woman’s suspected killer charged

2 years after she vanished;

remains still not found.

Body of missing woman found in Sydney community garden

four years after she disappeared


Police have launched a fresh large-scale search for murdered Bangor woman [Redacted],

at a former airfield site where she disappeared

14 years ago.

She vanished.

This day and age, it’s hard to just

absolutely vanish.

“We’re using the phrase, ‘It’s like

she vanished into thin air,’

but I want to say right here and now:

There’s no such thing,”

[Redacted]’s aunt [Reacted] told local media.

“Somebody knows something. It’s

impossible that nobody knows anything.”


Photo credit: Untitled (Music Series) – 1978 by Alma Thomas via Wikimedia Commons & the Smithsonian American Art Museum under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

About the author

Jeni De La O is an Afro-Cuban poet and storyteller living in Detroit. She is the author of Lady Parts (Grey Borders Books, 2019). Her work has appeared in Obsidian, Tinderbox, Rigorous Magazine, Glass Poetry, Rattle, and others. Jeni edits poetry for Kissing Dynamite Poetry and organizes Poems in the Park, an acoustic reading series based in Detroit. Find her on Twitter @jenidelao and Instagram @editprofileagain.

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