The Brave City
We heard around Eleven AM, Pacific Standard Time
that where the night had only just begun to come alive,
Twenty – two souls had died.
I feel my throat begin to close and fight a battle just to breathe.
How could I do anything from all away across the sea?
The angels, they called them. For our angels, they said.
Manchester, we’re strong.
What good does it do that my screams come from
all away across the sea?
Who did it? How many? How are the parents? and Why?
We’re still singing our song.
She was only fourteen.
Perhaps she was like me.
Perhaps she walked the halls at school
with headphones in her ears.
I feel like a failure.
Music – her reason to stay alive,
and tonight, perhaps, she just wanted – she tried – to live among the lights,
to dance away her fears.
I know that I failed you.
For one night. Just one night.
Angels deserve to dance longer.
I’m loving angels instead.
Three PM, Pacific Standard Time is midnight where you are –
Midnight shadows, shotgun echoes –
all away across the sea.
We’re gonna be alright.
A weight in my chest – I can physically feel –
a hole in my heart.
Is anyone watching us out there?
My tears could fill the sea between us.
I know I should have fought it.
I can’t eat. I can’t breathe.
There is no end to grief,
which is how we know there is no end to love.
We can’t do nothing. We must do something, she says.
Taking strength and taking charge.
Put your hearts up, she says.
Do I pick mine up off the floor?
One last time and one more time mean something different.
One year now, without you,
and I still wonder.
I should have done you better.
Something else, something new.
The breaths become easier to take, but I still wish you were here
So we could be the ones who take you home.
Where happy little bluebirds fly,
where angels leave Earth to dance in the sky,
where hatred won’t survive in resilient eyes.
They ask, Where is the love?
Here. Still alive.