bones

warrior forever ©papa osmubal

warrior forever ©papa osmubal


bones

adam aitken

                   Of what will they dream?
                   Which song they will remember? What name 
                   will they want to name – the bones – in their darkness?  
                   — Mario Lecon

The way– ideally– memory might work:
a glass case or a neat perspex tower
of smashed skulls and thighbones.
Sampler of jumbled DNA from which
almost everyone– including your driver–
is descended.
Each and every piece a story.
When to come away from it,
how to photograph it, how long
to stay there and stare
as one would a dust-sculpture;
how to make it mean
this ink-blood-archive
re-read by facsimile in America,
in Canberra, 30 thousand
this-is-your-life “confessions”.
Recantations stacked up
pages end on end, sandwiched
with enough truth to lubricate
the killing machine no theorist
at central committee
could calibrate to perfection.
Truth without conclusion,
the most painful of all endings delayed
by the endless plot.
To know your life
“was not worth a bullet”.
Story within stories in
A Thousand and One Nights.
To think, yes, how there is
an endpoint to it all, and a single sound
might hold it – “ahh” perhaps, or
a dog’s minute-by-minute whimper.
“Justice” you said, then re-canted.
a technical hitch, foreign
and therefore suspect
like the assertion
someone, some one must be responsible –
from
R. M. Nixon to H.R.H. Sihanouk to
General Lon Nol
to the sun baked farmer’s son
who was handy with
a sharp end of a shovel,
your neighbour, your colleague the accountant
across the corridor
doing the company’s credit/debit sheet–

the guy with all the stories, the one who said,
“Yep, I remember clear as day.
Sir, it was me, I did my little bit, I was
a good worker, just
protecting my country.”

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