The tragedy of Mrs. Maria,
Church Street at Tyne
Outside, before train convoys—
Outside, crowded platforms
Them with arms straight, hands empty.
Outside, waving is not permitted.
Gangs of youth wander, singing,
un coup de dés, ah-ayee, ah-yee, jamais, jamais.
[We glimpsed the edge of her cherry red coat]
Inside, celebrations banned, yet
inside, she sat, her coat, Sears-purchased
many tokens saved.
her skin taut-brown
her cheekbones angled against
her scarf another red the red of
her youth, head covered, she’d pick bent across acres cranberry strawberry
blueberry and not harvested anymore.
Inside, she, our neighbour,
cropped hair grey-nappy-soft,
praise songs at risk
where outside the little bursts,
no one said the word, gun-fire,
where marched a formation,
two militia, tanks down Vanness.
It were the Battle of Kingsway.