Fathers, and Mothers by Sarah James

I am not a silent poet

For Jo Cox’s family, on Father’s Day 2016

What does a gunman see
as he holds cold metal tight
and pulls, squeezes or presses

that bullet towards a daughter,
wife and mother? Does he see
a heart like a red rose

full of life’s softness, a face lit
with love or nothing more
than a body? Perhaps it’s not

even that, not even flesh
but only hate and anger
that he sees, feels, breathes.

I see a smile, a hand held out
to strangers. I see a Mum’s grin,
strong fingers holding her child’s

warm and harbored.
I see that chuckle for a husband,
two hands clasped tight

in a life-long partnership.
Life-long, but not long-lifed,
held with the gun

in another’s cold hand
pulling, pressing,
squeezing death so lightly.

Today of all days, as I smile
at my father and hold my son’s hand
as he hands his Dad

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