by Bryan Murphy
The envelope disgorges a faded photo:
my erstwhile drinking buddy’s younger bro’,
aiming a pre-draft grin into the future
as though he had one.
Whatever did you do
to those choiceless defenders of our freedom,
chosen to manoeuvre apartheid’s army
Were your jeans a shade too western?
Did you hand them to the sergeant too slowly?
Was your accent not quite right, an exile twang?
Did they just loathe your love of life?
Or was it your large, city-boy’s body, so easy
to pierce with pen-knife, machete, bayonet,
so light to lay out, silent, torn,
unable to accuse, or dance?
They all had a share in your murder,
the other new recruits. Your blood
bound them deeper than any enemy.
Those who lived “won” that war.
Do they still stab conscripts to death
now that peace and playstations rule?