It was never easy,

it was never quiet,

the atrocity had merely moved on.

It changed location,

to a distance that must have seemed

like it was gone,

but it wasn’t really gone.

We mourned,

we grieved,

but then we resumed our lives

and after a time,

the memory of pain faded,

as it does,



After that, few of us remembered

and fewer still prepared

for the return of atrocity.

Half a world away,

in another city,

or just across the street;

they that lived there came to know atrocity well.


In an unstable nation,

it was easy to seek suffering.

Coerce the greedy

and feeble minded to cause great hurt.

Desperate people

wiping out other, more desperate people.


In a ‘bad’ neighborhood,

an old, squalid tenement,

a sweet poison draws the addicts,

which draws the hustlers,

who form gangs

to increase their market share

and defend their territory,

until the innocent are murdered

over perceived slights

and hurt feelings.


Across the street,

a child watches his mother,

bruised and bleeding,

lay on the floor as his father stands over her

calling her a “stupid whore”.

That child know atrocity now.

He may come to befriend atrocity

and invite it into his life someday

and show horror to another person

who was blissfully unaware

that atrocity dwelled so close.


It lingers long,

in dark shadows of distant memories,

but never fades completely.

Every moment of every day,

atrocity is growing,


nurtured on by humanity’s madness.

It is our monster,

our unholy creation,

that prodigal son that will one day return.

The one we ignored,

hoping it would go away forever,

but it merely moved on,

to another place for a little while.


There is no end to atrocity.

It exists as long as we do.

There is only the time

between when it is gone

and when it returns.


Few remember

and fewer still prepare.


HG – 2016

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