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Arithmetic of Silences

by  James Graham

Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2004
Word Count: 139

Arithmetic of Silences

Let us commemorate the innocents.

One minute for each one,
for though they died en masse,
let us mourn them singly.

Let us lock our doors, go out
into the parks and squares.

Let us hear the names,
such as are known.

Rahad Septi of Fallujah,
Sa'ad Sha'ban of Basra,
Ahmed Hussein of Al Amin,
Nora Tamini of Baghdad...

The mother, daughter,
grandson, brother,
nephew and four nieces
of Mrs Truong Thi Le
of My Lai village...

Arithmetic of silences:

all the old, and all the young,
day and night in the city squares,
Times Square, St Peter's Square,
the Square of Heavenly Peace,

hearing the names,
such as are known;

all the old, and all the young,
in every village everywhere,
not travelling, not working, and not
loving: waiting out

the tally of the silences.