Can’t you see them standing in the surf head down blown ribs heaving
foam flecked skin quivering four beautiful horses, black, red, white, pale
edging your holiday beach.
There backing incoming human tide of stumbling bones,
swollen tongues searching dry mouths for enough spit
to swallow string sinews fraying rope muscles self consumed,
famine bowls under their ribs eyes dull-glazed running gangling within their nightmare;
if only by intention running,
stumbling avoiding four horses,
black, red, white and pale behind,
herding the human tide empty backed,
causing stampede with shadows.
Breaking your holiday you rush to offer designer bottled water to Sarah mouths
luxury hotel packed lunches to fill drum hollow bellies;
thick bright beach towels
to cover pebbled nakedness shivering in sunshine;
use your own manicured tanned
hands to help mop the tidal needs raising your game to match this moment. And still
those horses stand black red white and pale unrecognised. Victims’ throats rasped too
raw for warning even if language could translate horrors or your ears uncurl enough.
Take off your expensive shades look at the shades in the surf, look again count, wake
memory, remember symbolism recall their names which jockeys wear those colours?
Black charcoal-black burnt out homes, home towns; Red convulsing unbroken fever
dreams; White bone newly stripped of flesh; Pale hour between which few wake for.