They were children
Some of them still are.
They gather in the park
The one with memorials erected to honour the war dead
Also children once
Lives cut short
Now just names carved into stone
On forgotten monuments
Inside a park
Filling with ghosts
Inside what has become a subdivision
For tents and needles and desperation.
Just the other day
Sitting on one of the benches
I noticed that one of the park regulars
Now had a prominent baby bump.
Suggested to me
What her priority and her grief might be
Once the time came
For her to become two
And then one
I wondered how her story
Trapped as it was inside constant motion
Would play out
How it would become the inheritance
One way or another
Of the life growing inside her.
I looked over at the monuments
Looked around at all the scattered lives
Strewn in that park
And started to feel the gnaw of despair
As it worked its way
Into my corroding sense of hope.
In a moment of quiet
I could hear the whispers of the park trees
Blending in sympathy with the moans of the park ghosts
And the wails of the not-so-faraway sirens.
It almost seemed as if they were pleading with me
Resist with all my might
The urge to fold up into helplessness
At least for a little while longer.