Kathleen Bell – 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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