Their pictures are on milk cartons
They appear briefly with advertising fliers
for carpet and upholstery cleaning:
these mug shots of missing children,
small line-ups stalled in their short,
photographic histories.Maybe we have seen this child before
on his way to school or in a grocery store
clutched by the wrong hand,locked in a large grip,
or crying on some park bench
with not-so-childlike bruisesfar from home.
What should we make of their absences now,
of their parents held in an escrow of death,the earth hiding some of them
beneath its skin?