It happened a long time ago. I watched it on television in shades of grey. It started with smashing windows, the glass jagged over black space inside. On some of the windows you could see ‘Jude’ in ugly writing. Men in uniform were marching down the street: young men with short, short haircuts and bland faces looking straight forward. Then you saw the people in the street running to get away. Some of them seemed pleased, but then there were the other ones with stars pinned to their clothes. They looked frightened when the fires started. Old people spoke who had been children then. The children didn’t understand what was happening, but they understood later. An old man opened a box and took out the yellow star he’d kept for seventy years.
It hurts when the prod shocks through your skin
when cages cripple all your limbs
when they whip you to make you stagger
in what they call a dance.
It hurts when they pour poison into you
when they take away your child
when they force food down your throat
so you’ll be good to eat.
It hurts when they crowd you in trucks
when they drive you towards fear
when, shocked but not stunned,
you feel the knife’s first rip.
It hurts when they don’t hear
you telling them it hurts.