No more Left

Alone in the Space
where all the ideas
that anyone
were allowed
to remember
what had been and
why anyone
bothered
any notice to pay.
There
are the echoes
repetitions of sound
and events, events
constructed memories
in soundproof rooms
where outside
all the screams
were never heard.
The infant ears
on the umbilical cord
hung.
the screams
of his own brief escape
into the room of screams
unheard.
Why in the litter
six ’twas said
on arrival one
was dead
never to think
of sharing or hunger?
For birth in Christian arms
rewarded
by fire fragrantly baptized
repeated until again
sleep waits
in delicate euphemism
for life’s sometimes quiet end.
Seizing lungs and limbs
where between
the difference
the quick and the dead
a convention for eyes
slanted, angular in sight
not facial physiognomy.
Do we with that same
pronounced attention
photograph
those born(e) still
not strained
by the screaming
whose lungs and limbs
are free
for future sacrifice?

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is author of Unbecoming American: A War Memoir and also Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..