The adrenaline addiction was the biggest

problem after two or three years. I learned

their laughter before code names,

but sometimes it was the other way around.

Her code name was Daphne. No other students

were invited. She recruited me in September

of 1983. I should have died but the devil

did not want me. We lost our taste for food.

We got used to each other’s silence.

We became addicted to pills. Like that, we lived

half useless, but the other half drank cheap

whiskey to forget that some of us might die.

How everything changed for me in Chile.

The sun used to rise between the mountains,

but now it fought its way into pollution and darkness.

Nobody bothered to love anyone too long.




They opened the door,

she saw their faces

covered with white feathers.

The long honey hair

strewn, on the floor.

The long curls-

she saw the sea 

algae along the coast 

of the Pacific Ocean.

“I want to be someone

else, but keep my dress, I want my dress

my shoes and my pink rosa underwear.”

A flood of tears

fell through their eyes.

They tried to hide them.

They didn’t say one

word as they finished shaving her

imperfect round head.


Mariela Griffor was born in the city of Concepcion in southern Chile. She attended the University of Santiago and the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. She left Chile for an involuntary exile in Sweden in 1985. She and her American husband returned to the United States in 1998 with their two daughters. They live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. She is co-founder of The Institute for Creative Writers at Wayne State University and Publisher of Marick Press. Her work has appeared in periodicals across Latin America and the United States. Mariela Holds a B.A in Journalism and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New England College. She is the author of Exiliana (Luna Publications) and House (Mayapple Press).She is Honorary Consul of Chile in Michigan.