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last night, late
in the large room
that one day soon will
be let to another

lay three sleeping children
One was half propped on narrow
velvet pillows
thick curls twisted and damp
at the root of a long neck
so thin.

was covered in a pink cape
ancient exhausted bear,
his stuffing long hollowed,
resting on lips
that might have
been whispering secrets
with which no human
can be trusted –

the third
had limbs askew
two small legs
curled and still,
hips on a mattress
arms open
as a welcoming saint
on the floor.

I was limping
on a swollen knee.

we are casualties.
even our sleep
contains a violence –
bodies caught
brought down

like a wandering plane
in wartime
like the bones
of Pompeii

are they children
Or are they living,
like their injured
with Memory,

curse of consciousness,
toy soldiers in a battle not theirs:
it used to be
it used to be –