Judi Sutherland

Writers Against Prejudice

For Jo Cox

I’m thinking of the man who murdered Archduke Ferdinand
and how that shot would ricochet
along the trenches of the Somme, loud enough to echo
on the far side of the world. And all the men since then
who levelled the barrel of premeditated guns
and took aim at life, as though that could solve anything.

I’m thinking of the awful randomness of a death
that someone chooses for you
without permission, while all your future selves collapse
into a bullet hole. And afterwards, the press
decides if your killer was a mad lone wolf
or a terrorist, as if these two are mutually exclusive.

I’m thinking of that philosophical distinction we all make
between nature and nurture, although
motives are seldom pure and never simple –
and how they say there’s no free will at all;
that the finger muscles squeeze down on the trigger
before the…

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