Marjorie Agosin, "The most unbelievable part"

The most unbelievable part,

they were people like us
good manners
well-educated and refined.
Versed in abstract sciences,
always took a box for the symphony
made regular trips to the dentist
attended very nice prep schools
some played golf…
Yes, people like you, like me
family men
uncles and godfathers.
But they went crazy
delighted in burning
children and books
played at decorating cemeteries
bought furniture made of broken bones
dined on tender ears and testicles.
Thought they were invincible
meticulous in their duties
and spoke of torture
in the language of surgeons and butchers.
They assassinated the young of my country
and of yours
now nobody could believe in Alice through the Looking Glass
now nobody could stroll along the avenues
without terror bursting through their bones
And the most unbelievable part
they were people
like you
like me
yes, nice people
just like us.
Translated by Cora Franzen (A secret of weaver anthology)

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