To the Victims Of Oppression and Terrorism

You, the ones who, captured, face to face with death,
knelt to kiss the ground or spat through your last breath.
Your torturers, your killers, still concealed,
remember damage done or harmed heart healed:
the knowledge that in their midnight’s ascendant hour
they chose to do these things, to use this kind of power.
We vote or abstain: no reason to believe or doubt;
no signposts mark the dangerous, descending route.
To crush all opposition; to force through schemes:
that’s the stuff of evil, bloody dreams,
metalled with chrome-plate hate and driven
by the corroded engine of religion.
The clouds press down; the winds grow stronger;
we’ve all seen better days, and longer.
Now the last leaf of love falls in a black November
and is burned, and no one is left to remember.
There was a chance: we made our choices;
there will be other years and other voices.
Leaching into groundwater or suspended in smoke, you might be anywhere:
your chemical signatures imprint a billion volumes of air.

©2000 F.J. Bergmann

"To the Victims Of Oppression and Terrorism" was a poem-of-the-day on April 4, 2003.

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