We present this work in honor of the poet’s 60th birthday.

09-29 Griffor
Mariela Griffor
b. 1961


A torturer does not redeem himself through suicide.
But it does help. – Mario Benedetti

The boys from the neighbourhood, some of them,
stay behind the mud and the rain.

I ask myself what has become of
Romero, Quezada, Coleman?
Did their bodies and souls
escape deterioration?

Did they go into the army
to do their duty as soldiers
of the fatherland, the ones
who protect us from hate and
foreign tyrants?

Did they climb like the General
by usurping through disloyalty,
lies, secret codes and
finally through money?

Did they have families and
continue living in the city
as if nothing had happened?

Or did they sell their modest houses,
move to another neighbourhood where
no one knows anything about them?

There they will come in the evening and
will wash the remnants of dried blood
from their fingers.

Will they look for their wives,
give them a kiss, touch their bodies
with those same hands?

Will their daytime nightmares
be cast upon those who
know nothing of where they
come at the end of the night?

Will they return their heads,
smashed by the memories they left
in the cells, streets, apartments to a soft warm
pillow that washes away their sacrileges?

What happened to the men
I knew and never saw again?

Did they turn themselves into
men hungry for justice or did
they leave little by little in silence?

Did they put on their clothes
in the morning without knowing
whether they would return in
the evening to their dear ones?

Did they learn to kill in clandestine training or
did they become more men with the
passing of these hard times?

Did they love like those
pure men
I met on those evenings
when to play was
all our universe?

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