In those slow, dead hours that hang attendant
Upon the birth of the dawn,
When all things pure lie safe abed,
Nested in sleep's safe oblivion,
The rituals take place, unseen, unfelt
In the woods or in the alleys
In the dry, dusty corners of the old parts of town
In any of the legion of lonesome fragments of our world
So neat, so ordered -
The rituals go on;
The rituals of rage and fear go on
Wherein the innocent are sacrificed
To the furies that howl in derelict souls.
When they had done with her,
As she lay used, broken and spent -
Their savagery hung briefly satisfied,
But their need for power still surged within their veins
Abating slowly in the cold air's caress
And they thought then of the possible payment,
Of the cost that might be exacted
As the price of the evening's dark fun.
The thought crept into them,
And quietly whispered
That she might someday return
From the deep mist of pain she was floundering in,
And rise with a strength they dared not imagine,
To point them out to the daylit world,
That world that would turn its eyes
Away from the sight of what their leprous spirits had wrought
And send them away
To fester out their lives
Snarling in cages with others of their kind
In some barren fortress of stone and steel.
The thought arose that there might after all be some God,
That perhaps, just perhaps, there might be a chance
That the hands of Justice,
However stiffened by the cold of the distancing world,
Had not yet retired, worn and crippled.
These things they considered in their primitive way,
So they chose what seemed the sensible course,
And killed her.
As she lay a still form in the black roadside grit
One of them thought of the tire iron.
He took it up, heavy in hand, and poised it
High above her like some frozen snake,
Then brought it down with a slicing whoosh
That bit through the clear air
Seeking to crush out the life in her soft yielding flesh
As it lay quivering below the star-jewelled Winter blackness.
Deep inside there went on the splintering of bone
Blood spattered the roadside and ran pink into dew
Pain bloomed riot in outraged nerves
As it ran in soaring, tidal flows
Through the infinite pathways towards her staggered brain
Blaring a symphony of misery,
Raising flaring monuments to agony.
The small sounds she made and lost in the mist
Soon settled to silence,
As the last threads of her life came undone
And the waves of pain ebbed away,
More and more distant.
She glimpsed that other far shore and, shipwrecked soul she was,
Struck out for it -
Passing beyond the last borders of our little thoughts
Leaving the tragedy of her ending far behind
Free at last, into whatever light there may be.