Saturday, November 14, 2009

Photo 86

It was photo 86.
A man and woman from the Ministry showed up at the door last Monday. Both were dressed in black, they’d walked. Cars only prevented evasion of danger. If anyone understood that, they did.
At the ministry building, I was instructed to sit in a metal chair at a wooden table.
The man left and returned with a worn leather book that he half-dropped, half-placed on the table. He took more care as he slid it in front of me. I opened it as he took up post at the single, barred window.
The book had another life at some point. Now each page held three photographs with circled numbers, scrawled in thick black marker, beside each one.
Placid faces filled the first several pages; peace finally attained through death.
Those without identifiable faces were pictured as fully as possible in a macabre gallery of decay and dismemberment. In one grotesque display of frugality, four severed arms were photographed together in hope that a loved one might be able to identify the attached jewelry.
When they ask why anyone would detonate a bomb in a busy marketplace, tell them it was photo 86.

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