Allene Rasmussen Nichols


Srebrenica Massacre

The 7,000 murdered will never breathe again,
and the thousands raped will never sing again,
and the thousands terrorized will never speak again,
but breath and song and voice
will rise from the damp earth
and ravaged bodies
and frozen throats

and this spirit will suffocate ethnic hatred
and from that blackened pile
it will bring forth a rose for each person
who suffered

until Srebrenica is covered with wild roses
that impale the murderers and rapists
and provide sweet sanctuary
for those who can’t forget.

Those who remember will whisper a curse
and a blessing
on the rest of us, on we who said “never again”
until never again demanded that we act
and again we did nothing.

The blessing-curse will go like this:

We will know that we are all Serbs and
we are all Bosnians; we are all Muslims
and we are all Christians; we are all killers
and we are all victims; And this struggle
in our hearts will last until
the roses of Srebrenica bleed tears
to water the graves of the massacred.

Allene Rasmussen Nichols lives in Arlington, Texas. Her poems have been published in regional and international journals and the anthology Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa. Her plays have been produced in Dallas, California, and New York.

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