Them and Us

These are the rules, they said:
You names must change,
but your face stays the same.
You will receive one broken limb,
two lessons in mountain climbing
and a ticket on the next shuttle.

We thought it was a game
until they shoved us out
the door, and soldiers arrived
to carry out their orders.
No one was allowed to choose –
they gave me a broken arm 

and a rope. My new name
was unpronounceable but
who could speak in such pain?
The soldiers wouldn’t even help
us on with our boots.
The shuttle arrived and I knew 

how cattle felt, rumbling their
way to the abattoir.
They meant us to die,
they meant us never to return.
They had no mercy. We were
ten more items ticked off
their death list. Done.

Sherryl Clark

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