At The Police Station
There, she is there. She moves in the cold September morning
by Lauris Dorothy Edmond
it's hours yet till dawn but she knows neither light nor dark
nor scarcely where she is. A light, a door, stone steps. She walks
straight up them, eyes ahead; her body rigid as she jerks
forward towards the door, the handle, and suddenly the man
behind the desk. He looks up, his breath stops
he sees her tragic bright eyes, he sees the blood, and
how she holds those small white-knuckled hands; he watches
her terrible face. He knows without asking, but he asks.
They are locked already into an unspeakable knowledge,
only yesterday she was here, distraught and pleading,
it was his chance for brilliance -- or at least for goodness --
and he missed it. He has become her jailer now, who
could have been her saviour. He wholly understands,
and it is too late. No one else will ever come to him and say
'Help me, take me, please, before I do this thing . . .'
He will be haunted now for ever by his trial, deceptive
as it was, and he found wanting. No one will accuse him
and he can never be forgiven. His uniform rustles slightly
as he rises, his single offer a cup of institution coffee,
potion for the damned. 'Your jacket's all bloody, take it off.'
Oh cry for the breaking day, the sleeping pillows shocked
by phone calls, messages, alarms, weep now and every morning
for the Janus faces, back to back, of guilt and innocence.