POEM by Michelle Elvy

Ordinary Boy
by Michelle Elvy, Whangarei/The Ocean

Jersey (not Jozefow), 2012 (not 1942)

When asked why he did it, the boy
averts his eyes, fidgets. He does not
lie, but he cannot face the truth.

His lip trembles and he shakes
when shown the photos. When
asked to describe his role, he
employs passive voice and
talks about others:

……………………………………..I was told… They insisted….

When pressed for an explanation,
he refers to a chain of command:

…………………………………….I did what they said.

He talks about the older boys,
the way he wanted to belong, the way
he went along. When asked if he
pulled the trigger, he nods
and shrugs.

When forced to talk about
what really happened in the woods,
he cries at the memory –

……………………………………the shallow grave,
……………………………………the waste of life.

He did not want to shoot
the dog, you can tell. There is
no hate in his eyes, no fanatical
glint. He is not accustomed
to such cruelty.

He is an ordinary boy.
.

© Michelle Elvy
Reproduced here without Michelle’s permission, but I’ll ask her soon

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