Minute's Silence

after the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017

No smiling homeward lifts for them; no smiles.

No straight to bed, no ringing in the ears.

No whistle for them: the start struck the end

with the explosive speed of a viral thought.

So now you see these faces, unveiled of vanity,

stripped to the rawest emotions in the face of loss.

And there will be no understanding, only feeling.

The youngest eight, they said, the youngest eight.

We’re never closer than when we’re slapped to life

by death; than when a nation for one moment

is left to turn to hurt like this, & wonder at it.