Forty years on, her father’s skin
was still raw with the beatings;
he showed her the livid weals.
In her mind’s eye she could see him
in his school blazer – his small frame
bent double with pain, his red eyes wincing.
There was no escaping it now.
The ground behind the long low building
was riven and scarred.
She was haunted by voices, howling.
They told her to dig down, dig deep
to the hidden corpses.
Further afield, too, and moving
towards her in slow motion
she could see the ghost-soldiers
processing down shady country lanes.
They were gesturing to her
with their mute imploring hands.
It wasn’t enough to leave the past
to its own devices and sleep…
she must dig down, dig deep,
so that the trapped spirits could be free
to tell their own stories
in a language everyone understands.