Today, I pray with you, though you see me not, nor hear my voice.
I scream with you when you wrap his body in a white sheet and lay him on the ground, accompanied by voices filled with rage and grief.
As you peek out from hiding, watch the soldiers burst through the door and execute your family in the living room, I watch with you.
They gathered round stripped you naked, each had their turn with you, and left you bleeding and unconscious – my soul dies with you.
I graduate with you as the police run through the streets, herd you to an alley, shoot you in the head while you kneel, begging for your life – and a chance to graduate from high school.
When they were lined-up and one by one their heads lopped off, I vomit with you.
I claw with you for air as hands of power cut off your breathe.
I will confess with you, as the faces of those you killed assault your mind and haunt your dreams.
Where you stumbled over papa’s body in a dark field after the rebels exacted their “justice,” I collapse with you.
I curl up with you, as the planes and bombs and artillary scream through the air, and your buddy is skewered alive beside you.
As your mouth foams, eyes swell, muscles spasm, choking on the gas, I shake with you.
When the child turned aside so not to see the bodies beheaded on the side of the road, I look away with you.
Though we are not with you, we are present, we will live so that you may return, and in your death, never forget….
[this is an open piece, add your own stanza, translate into your language, or repost and tag me as you see fit – Jeremy Simons, 16 May 2018, Otago, New Zealand]
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Jeremy Simons worked in Davao as a peace and restorative justice advocate from 2008 to 2017. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Zealand and can be reached at email@example.com)