That cold Biblical fact is almost its own
rescinding: Herod’s men working the edict,
penetrating the final maternal folds, the fronds
of maternal fingers, the impregnable hold
prized open, the wild chill of the exposed
child, then the adult anger, a gleaming yard
of unsheathed blade, like some terrible wedding
act penetrating, innocence taking; innocence lost.
Lost. The child is lost. The hymen broken
of the first virgin innocence. The hot semen
doused in blood, struggling through the dark; the wailing,
urine and faeces breaking, the egg of what will be
battered against, and incredulously, penetrated:
the bastard peace that is this silent aftermath
is very much a tangible living thing, one that should
never have been, but is, a soft apparition
of children of children, a rising of innocence.
This poem was written in the wake of the massacre of school children by Chechen rebels in Beslan whose 10th anniversary was commemorated this week.