War Crimes

War Crimes

First published in December 2018 in Barren Magazine

War Crimes 1

The endless sifting of papers. The noting of names and dates. The cross-checking, referencing, the words, photographs, videos, recordings and interviews. The tears. The coffees, the discussions, the sadness. The shouting. All to be examined and dissected. To bring the murderer to justice.

War Crimes 2

The baby white and heaving, his skin grey with dust, a smear of blood on his forehead. The baby gasping but soon as still as a stone. He will not move again. Nothing left but his small bones buried in an unmarked grave.

War Crimes 3

The order was given and another and another but each order was the same as the one before. Eliminate by all means possible. No one is to be spared in this place. You hear! No-one.

War Crimes 4

The women wept. Their tears flowed down their cheeks and onto the podium. Their tears flowed down from the stage onto the floor. We were flooded with their tears. We could not breathe. Nothing to be done but watch and listen to the cracking of their hearts.

War Crimes 5

She could not find the man. He had hidden his uniform. No, perhaps he had burned his uniform. Now he had disappeared into the wilderness of the city’s streets. Or perhaps he had gone to the mountains? He might even have travelled overseas.  But she will always remember his face and how he brought that cheap, sharp smell of cologne into the room with him. She knows his name. Everyone knows his name.

Five years. Ten years. The long waiting.

War Crimes 6

The General speaks of trash and re-cycling. He talks of burying. He means bodies. Yours and mine.

War Crimes 7

The weight of tears. The nights of wakefulness. The knock on the door. The sifting of papers and one day, an ending. Even a small justice.



The home of writer Bronwen Griffiths