The Killing of a Sacred Deer

In memory of Jennifer Laude

Your crime of passion, your smell of rust
Your non-hesitating hands, robust
Figure and her hair on your fingers
The bruises violet and ugly and green
Like your thumb and your uniform
And your drunken evening bar-hopping plight
Your fellow men must have been on the front lines
When you learned how to serve your country
But did not learn how to serve your time
And the memories are still fresh from all these years
How you killed the sacred deer

Your unconscious thought, your touch of dust
Your thickened accent, crisp as crust
And smooth as butter like the skin that is chafing
On steel handcuffs and steely gazes
You were not deprived of sunlight from your cell—
Wide as your childhood bedroom
And you could jog around its base in circles
Like you did back in camp, skinny dipping with
Your male comrades, bumping torsos, bumping fists
Did you think of them when you killed someone’s daughter
And awakened every parent’s fear?
When you killed the sacred deer?

Your strong impulse, your law unjust
You’re trained to kill with loaded guns
And artillery and fusillade and shots
Like the ones you gave away that drunken evening
I bet a smile crept on your face
When you fooled those men into thinking you
Had won this Trojan war
But it lives on in someone’s daughter’s,
someone’s sister’s clothes and blood
And even if you’ve got the Kevlar suit, the boots, and firing squad
No mortal can ever camouflage himself from the eyes of God
You will not go unpunished here
For the killing of a sacred deer


Aidan Reuel A. Bernales

Aidan Bernales is an 18-year-old Filipino writer from Cebu City. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Ateneo de Cebu’s Molave and is a part of the school’s theatre, debate club, and student council. He has songs on Spotify and a poetry account on Instagram.

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