After the fluorescent shops and the snatched music,
the side street was damp and dark –
but a bag of chips and a manipulative adult
made the emptiness freedom.
Waterways were trawled and the usual,
time-dishonoured suspects questioned.
Down river, high tides returned her nine year old body.
The funeral cortège was a carriage and horses
and the local press was effulgent.
But gossip condemned her single mother,
living in a hostel on benefit.
The killer lived two floors down,
an estranged father of daughters –
a violent drunk, unemployed, unschooled.
Victim, mother and murderer
threaten the equivocal city.
Losers and losing
challenge its achievements.
Death is only one result of murder.
Remember sweet Fanny Adams – mutilated,
immortalised, profaned unthinkingly!
The murder and rape of children
seem beyond words, understanding, iniquity
– and another’s lack of love or the means to love
is out of our grasp, lost beyond finding.