La Paterna

I was taken to La Paterna
a small town near Valencia
by a good friend.

We went to the cemetery
and stood by the fossars.

They are pits where
with nothing but lime
murdered sons and daughters
mothers and fathers were thrown.
Three thousand people.

The brave, who would not straighten their arms
or unclench their fists.
Refused to renounce their loyalty to the people
or swear an oath to the generals and their god.

I did not know what expression to wear
and could speak no words.

Now seventy eight years
since the crimes began in this place
there is resistance again
fought with brush, sieve and swab.

Below us the fossar was open
three were knelt in the red dust
recovering history and memory.

Returning it to those from whom it was stolen
from whom it has been held captive
as they were told to forget.


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