Kathleen Bell – aftermath

aftermath
                        so, in the end
we stacked them anyhow,
forgot to grieve, forgot
even, what  corpses are –
                        just so much freight,
such ache and stretch of arms,
a muscle torn,
a shoulder wrenched,
                        and day wore on.
We carried.
                        Most we burned.
They charred like any other flesh
and it was hot, slow work.
.
When we were done, we found
a few remained.
                        These took our love.
We cherished them
even before we learned their names.
.
We know the dead are lost
and hold the living fast.
.
.
.

Kathleen Bell’s poems have been published in a number of magazines including PN Review, New Walk, Under the Radar and Litter, and in the anthologies A Speaking Silence and Crystal Voices. Her 2014 Oystercatcher pamphlet at the memory exchange was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. She is currently working on a long sequence of poems about James Watt, provisionally titled Jamie’s Book of Ingenuity. Kathleen, who also writes fiction, teaches Creative Writing at De Montfort University.
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