The Disillusioned's Remembrance
Emryn R. Syme
— Inspired by Joseph DeLappe’s Atonement Project
A beginning carved in stone,
used for an ending in crumpled paper.
“You don’t remember?”
The words of every teacher
on the anniversary of the date,
realizing that their shared pain
ends with me and mine.
I don’t remember,
but I’ve only known war because of it.
Not war like the one
known by the rest of the world;
war as it is only done
by the “Land of the Free.”
“War on terror”
began before I could stand,
the names of those it was for
enshrined in the stone
on the bloody land they died on.
But I don’t remember.
All I know is that they showed videos of the dying to children
ensuring their trauma that lived never died.
And for what?
They didn’t preserve their memory, no.
They preserved their own pain.
All I know is praying for soldiers
without ever knowing what they die for.
All I know is war
and no retribution had for those who were killed,
who all this was supposed to be for.
All I know is its legacy is not justice nor liberation.
All I know is an unhealed, unmitigated rage
creating the very thing they sought to destroy—
An empty relief,
the absence of something that always was.
“It’s good,” “It’s bad,”
And maybe the dead who began this can finally
All I know is the land of the aggressor
and the terror that gives them their power.
The word ringing in the language of my soul
as my eyes are sealed to charcoal on paper.
Zemari. Nasir. Zamir. Faisal. Farzad. Armin.
Binyamen. Malika. Sumaya. Ayat.
Names of ash blowing in the wood.
Zamir would be my age.
Some might even remember what all this was for.
Some never got to know much of anything at all.
The names of the last who died,
pressed in an amalgamation,
letters of the names of those it was supposed to be for.
began with the blood of innocents
and ended just the same.
Echoed in the stone lettering of the beginning,
turned into charcoal of the end.
And what was it for?
The names in stone will be remembered,
just like the videos of them dying
pressed into rage in the souls of children.
But those lost in stone names are only charcoal on paper,
lost in a careless wind.
All blood of the innocent,
but some lives were turned into the drones
used to take the lives of the rest.
The “remembered” were stripped from their rest,
burned into charcoal
for one man to try to turn into a true remembrance.
But I was never the one who remembered.
All I am is a childhood witness
to the loss
of what it all