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Chance Second


For he whose flesh was scattered in the street
wiped from the face of a passer by,
the woman whose legs were ripped away
for whom the paramedics came too late,
the headless boy
scythed with a dagger of steel,
the clock has stopped, tomorrow closed
and all the efforts of their past laid waste.

For the woman whose arm is frayed and torn,
screaming in the outrageous sun,
the man whose face and arms are black and blistered
wide eyed and silent on the stretcher;
the girl having glass slithers
picked out of her beautiful face;
the deafness, the silence that follows violence,
the panic and the pain

For the boy clawing down the dark tunnel of fear
away from the carnage,
for the man cut out of the crumpled bus
hearing the uninjured running,
for the woman who saw from the roadside
the bus burst open, limbs, bodies, and blood;
re-enactment in the night, waking in sweated terror,
gasping with horror and guilt.

For those who heard from friends, from people in the street
from the television or radio, not understanding;
disbelief at first and then the fear that feels too close
the numbing realization, anger and despair.

For the nation, the world,
in the pub, the restaurant, at work;
the inevitability, the shocking empathy,
the empty freezing rage
at the God that allows and the God that condones,
sighing with resignation at their own futility
and helplessness.

For those who
board the busses and the trains in the morning,
eventually pass down these streets again;
the seeping sedative of forgetfulness.

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