The Body Washed u/p on the Bank by John Grey

Last night, at dusk, a young girl and boy

found a body washed up on the bank of a river.

They were just sixteen, out for a romantic scroll,

when they came across that woman.

The fading light made the smell even more overpowering,

darkened the green of her cheeks.

 

I’ve never come across a body.

It’s not like finding a much-desired gift

under the Christmas tree.

Or discovering, with fork in mouth, that I really do

love asparagus after all.

Or the revelation that I know the answers

to the test in front of me.

It’s surely the very opposite of these

and I can’t imagine what that would be like.

I can only wrap my head around

the absence of a gift,

the gruesomeness of an unlovely vegetable,

the repeated stonewalling of a question,

and I know that it is none of these.

 

Last night, at dusk, a young girl and boy

experienced something but what that something is

remains as unintelligible to me

as facing down a lion or walking on the moon.

Their innocent lives were witness to the end

of someone, according to the news reports,

not all that much older than themselves.

They froze for a moment,

then turned to each other,

two looks of bewilderment squaring off

with the sun going down and the rising moon no help.

They could still be there for all I know.

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