NOT-HER.

Author:Sleigh, Tom
Position:Poem
 
FREE EXCERPT

"Just a child" is the phrase for them the NGOers always used. A phrase in which "just a child" meant categories of inviolable trust, of innocence destroyed, of abused understandings between NGOers, parents, child, world. But when I stepped back, and I was, in my role, as overly involved in assuming what she was--"murdered"-- as anyone, I saw it all from a space-time continuum not hers--and that was when I had to back off and try to see it clear: the not-her who was not her file in Refugee Protection and who, in some otherworld parallel to this one, kept on staring over my shoulder as I read about the murders of her, her father and brothers by gunmen who came into their house and asked them all to step into the street where in a business-like way, in the back of the head, they gunned them down. While her not-her looked on, I looked at violated trust, innocence investigated, disabused understandings between tribe and tribe, Mohammed and Jesus, nation and nation...

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