Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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Last Moments

by Jean Jones

Have you ever seen a picture that haunted you
of someone just
before they were murdered,
like those photos
of those women and children
at My Lai
before they were shot to death
their crying voices
screaming for help
to you
in the land of the living
yet there's nothing you can
do about it,
for in minutes
photos reveal
the dead bodies
where the women and children stood,
like that famous photo of
the dead girl
running with her murderer
beside her
her haunted eyes say to the camera,
"I'm trapped,
yet there's nothing I can do about it,
help me," and her body
is found days later,
brutally raped and murdered.
What are we to do
with such images?
Like the man from the Tet Offensive,
the mayor of Saigon
pulling out this revolver
and executing him on the spot,
blood spurting from his head the whole time,
or those films of that man
who gets his head cut off
courtesy of the Taliban
in Iraq or Pakistan
butchered like pigs before
our eyes,
some screaming for their lives
as the knife slits their throat. . .
What are we to do with such images?
Go back to church
and pray for God's will?
Rorschach, the madman vigilante
from the graphic novel
and movie, The Watchmen,
reveals to a prison psychologist why
he was known as Rorschach.
After discovering a missing girls
bones being ripped up by the killer's dogs,
Rorschach proceeds to butcher the dogs
and the killer himself.
"God was not responsible," Rorschach mumbles,
"the killer was and God didn't mind"
if Rorschach killed the killer as well.
To come to the realization, as murderers do,
that no one stops you from killing
but yourself and some lucky breaks
by the police is weighty stuff indeed.
Is there truly no God?
Maybe. Maybe not,
but if there is a God,
He seems not likely to interfere
in the killing of one human being with another,
the same God who lifts no finger to save a fish
from a hawk, a mouse from an owl,
or me moving in to kill you right now.

© 2010 Jean Jones

Originally from Bandung, Indonesia, Jean Jones received a BA in English in 1986 from UNC-Wilmington, and an MFA in Creative Writing: Poetry in 1988 from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Jean currently teaches Basic Skills at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina. He has had two books of poetry published by St. Andrews Press from St Andrews College, North Carolina; the most recent, "Birds of Djakarta", was released in 2008. Together with his friend and fellow poet Scott Urban, Jean Jones has had a brand new book of poems published by a brand new Wilmington, North Carolina publisher called Shaking Outta My Heart Press. Jean's book from that publisher is titled "Tornado." Jean is also co-editor of the online poetry magazine Word Salad which can be found at: www.wsmagazine.net/zine/

Find more by Jean Jones in the Author Index.

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