Tom Daley

Main Train Station, Allama Iqbal Road, Lahore

How the gristle of their lament snags
heaven in its teeth! Nothing

can unnerve these women now—not
the sawdust of bones nor the scent that draws

flesh flies from a camouflage sun. Their tears
are nitroglycerine spotting the harsh

silks of the moon, their lips—mad doves
murmuring in queues on city roofs. Consolation

is a only a baffle against frostbite
where the women rip like vines in hail. And yet

they console, and impugn,
and declare that the gauze of their headdress

is only the smoke that lifts
where the centipede legs of the bomb

rowed sparks from the flint
of the loved one’s skull.

Mourning is a colloquy, mourning
is a collision of the last syllable

pronounced before the blast
and the heft of grief’s head,

a giant hailstone coaxed
to nestle and thaw at the bottom

of some mother’s breasts.

Tom Daley was once a machinist and now serves on the faculty of the Online School of Poetry and teaches writing in the Boston area. His work has appeared in Harvard Review, Fence, Barrow Street, Diagram, and elsewhere. He has written a play about Emily Dickinson and her servants and performs it as a one-man show. His review of Success of the Seed Plants by Leslie Williams can be found at Amethyst Arsenic.