Ta Prohm

at Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
at Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

I thought, she said,
Since I was made of rock,
That naught existed
That was stronger than me;
Much time had had to pass
Before it proved me wrong,
Before the roots of trees
Which human hands had felled
Grew through their pain,
Forgiving what’d destroyed them,
Embracing me, whom they’d been
Killed for, as their own;
I thought, she said,
That I was made of stone;
I see instead
That we have all been made
Of life and boundless hope


Photographs of the inmates of S-21/Toul Sleng
Photographs of the inmates of S-21/Toul Sleng

Flowers grow over graves,

Winds whisper over the place

Where thousands were murdered by tens,

Where men tortured, abused, destroyed men


Empty rooms, empty yards, empty stairs

Will remember as long as they stand

The names of those, who half-slept and half-died

In iron beds on Rouge’s hot, scream-filled nights


Now it’s quiet here under the sun;

The locks from the doors and the windows are gone;

Blood’s been washed off the walls and the floors,

But the watchful eyes of the still-suffering ghosts


Of Toul Sleng follow into the future the steps

Of the guests who have come to converse with the dead