After Qana – July 30th 2006
Fifty-four civilians, mostly children killed
in an Israeli air-strike on a village in South Lebanon
I saw the lunchtime news and now
my arms ache with the dead weight of children whose bodies
one by one, out of the rubble, I have not carried.
My fingers clench against one shoulder and under the bent knees
of a dead girl whose body in pink pyjamas, I have not lifted -
her head thrown back, her eyes closed against the dust -
whose cold hand against my chest, I have not felt.
Despair lands like a bloated pigeon on the acacia tree,
drags down delicate branches, scatters the leaves;
hope disappears over my garden wall like a dragonfly,
as the leaves of the Virginia creeper turn red too soon
and underneath the trellis where the jasmine creeps,
the buddlea drips with purple tears and the butterflies don’t care.