Adam Aitken

                        Of what will they dream?
                        Which song will they remember? What name
                        will they want to name - the bones - in their darkness?
                                —Mario Licón Cabrera, “Osario”

The way - ideally – we might remember:
a glass case or a neat Perspex tower
of skulls and thighbones.
Blood and rust melded together
in the springs of an old French style bed base.
An old cartridge case shit can.
Samplers of jumbled DNA,
a room of ragged cast-offs.
How to come away from it,
to photograph dust, how long to stay or stare
at the spattered tiles and the ripped out wiring.
To wonder what endless days reading
archive stacks of "confessions"
does for the eyes; sick of questions
no one wants to answer,
a forensic display of bullet wound trauma,
all logic and angles,
is somehow a relief.

In the schoolyard recanters stacked up
end on end, queued for each device, machines
no theory committee
could calibrate to perfection.
Lies, half-truths, false leads, endless plot.
To write “my life is not worth a bullet"
concludes more than narrative.
How to sign off a letter
with terror’s salutations – and after that?
"Ahhrgh" perhaps, or a dog's whimper,
or the dragging chain.
Someone who’d been to Belsen
had written "Justice" in the visitor’s book.
But this was a rustic, ham-fisted, machine
with no industrial prototype.

I too have to write, wondering
where I would have fit
on the chain-linked paranoia
connecting a tyrant to a farmer's son
who was handy with a shovel;
someone like the accountant across the corridor
doing the company's credit/debit sheet –
the guy with all the stories, who
knew how to file, the one who said
he’d done his job protecting his nation
with a few blunt instruments
a fountain pen, and a beautiful signature.