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

S-21

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