Old Collaborators

Some men, who collaborated self-consciously
with killers behind a one-way mirror darkly,
catching their breaths on every errant wind,

once descended stone steps to find the kind
of minds that maimed despite eloquent pleas
by local officials to set their people free.

They learned the equivalencies of either/ or
propositions then, resembling more and more
the characters they'd assume as secretaries,

bookkeepers, coolly anonymous apothecaries,
changing their names until no useful memory
could emerge, no messages for their enemies,

waiting until they could let those lives go,
their funeral corteges grey as trodden snow.