On the road, on our road,
the bus stop, his bus stop
— lights flashing —
Garda cars, ambulance, stopped traffic.
Someone crying out, lying on the road,
‘It isn’t your son, it’s mine.’
On the news, early in the day,
before dawn in January,
An 18-yr old bullied:
tear-inducing violence to his soul.
A hurt short lifetime of pain.
Why read it? Because not reading is sometimes a form of violence too?
So many tears.
It isn’t my son, it’s theirs –
is it? What do I know of anyone’s soul today?
On a hilltop, bright in sun,
white birch stems stark
against blue sky.
Holly dark green, hard, shining,
just us two,
and the dog.
My sons are safe elsewhere. I think.
Maybe safety isn’t why we are here.
If there was no violence
To body or soul
If tall white men
Didn’t talk over women as if they were
Kittens of no consequence
If we were all free
With safe toilets, clean water and eco-friendly sanitary products
If there were wild places with no roads and no roadkill
If there were deciduous woodlands everywhere
And native flora and fauna in abundance
And enough bees
If my sons could see an otter
And everyone knew what an acorn was
If children didn’t have to be like other children to be safe
In their speech and clothes
In their names and bedroom décor
If rich people weren’t
If poor people weren’t
If there was no STD, BLM and GBV
And LGBTQ+ didn’t matter
(because we were free)
And if acronyms with too many letters didn’t keep getting invented
To keep on pointing out that
We don’t actually love each other
What would my sons have to do in the world then?