(a careless reflection)

if every Korean
if every Vietnamese
if every Laotian
if every Cambodian
not to mention
more than a few Chinese
if every Filipino
if every Apache,
Cherokee, Dakota, Navajo
or Sioux,
Salvadoran, Colombian,
Mexican and Mayan
Millions unnamed
kidnapped, enslaved
tortured and maimed,
Africans in chains
Russians, Syrians,
Iraqis and Persians
not to forget Palestinians*
bombed with your planes
with napalm in flames

with no where to flee
were one day
or night all there
at your door,
looking for you:
the torch torn
from that green courtesan’s hypocritical wrist
holding those ropes
on their ancestors’ necks
you did twist
looking for you,
at your doors
front and back
at your windows,
both opened
and closed.
Yes, you,
and your family
snuggled together
watching TV
in self-righteous
Yes, you,
with your greatness
Your wealth
and your safety,
all that you hoard.
Yes, you,
you imagine
killing in your dreams
never would hear
your own children’s screams
Not that your victims
return from the dead
not that their survivors
fill you with dread
the cause of your violence
lies not in t h e i r terror
but behind that glib smile,
you face in your mirror.

* a non-exclusive list

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..