out of the mouths


On a Paris street,
in a morning walk, they stop
to talk to the camera:
Papa, I am scared.
Of what, my child?
Of the angry people
and their angry guns – what if
they come back again?
Then we will lay more flowers,
my child, we will always
have more flowers.


In a home Down Under,
on the way to slumber, they stop
for a pressing question:
Mum, what will happen
when there is no more room?
No more room for what,
my child? What if –
there is no more room for all
the bodies, to put them when
they need rest?
Then we will dig deeper,
my child, we will find
a way to go deeper still.


In an ancient never ending story,
Ramah wails again; lamentation
covers the bodies, bomb-dust
and fire smoke, stifling cover, suffocation,
smother –
Rachels kneel unseen among the stones,
in the fallen shell-shocked ruins
of life made empty; Rachels
who will not be consoled, refuse
flowers for the burden grief will lay
upon them, must lay within
them, deeper, so much
deeper than humans ought to dig.
There are no streets, no graves, no
children asking what if –
only Rachels’ weeping turning
dust to restless mud.

* Ramah & Rachel, reference to Jer 31:15


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