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Friday, August 16, 2013


by Janice D. Soderling

On August 16, 1943, the Greek village of Kommeno was destroyed, and one hundred fifty villagers massacred. 74 were children under the age of 10. Photo source: Kommeno. A narrative reconstruction of a war crime committed by the Wehrmacht in Greece.

Always they are with us in this room
watching as we laugh or write or rest.
Some never learned to speak. Like vaporous spume
they drift, small shades: dry-eyed, perplexed, distressed.
Months pass, and years, and decades, still they wait
for honest news, and even the littlest
ones keep watch. Men who exterminate
small babes like rats must surely have good cause.
One day, one may drop by to motivate
the deed—mistake or joke or small-print clause?
The little sprites want only to know why
they had to die.

Janice D. Soderling has often had poems at NVN. She is a poet, writer and translator whose work can be read in many print and online magazines and anthologies.