Across The World

Tara Drayton

Photography: Laura Skinner

All across the world tonight
Our voices hang in string:
A train journey lingers in quiet
By humanity’s unscheduled riot
Against our lives, ripped at the seams.
The masks define us. These cut looks
Contort outside and forge the loops
Unseen to guard decaying dreams.

All across the world tonight
Sweet sickness steals our sleep:
Alone in the dark a woman lies.
Her tears plague her eyes;
She clasps him still yet warmed by death
And pleads with words. She is unheard.
With blighted soul she turns
And promises to live his dying breath.

All across the world tonight
Society’s doors close:
Dawn’s choral joy still filters through
With sunlight gleam, faint drenched in blue
Of skies untouched; on lands left drained
It seeps; it mocks neglected glass
Of windows, home and store, the past
We once assumed but cannot again.

All across the world tonight
We know not where to turn:
The chemist battling the time
By moonlight and her sacred vials
Prays to gods once thought untrue;
He yields no cure. Doom taints his heart,
Which wonders how it is so hard
To light the way: what can he do?

All across the world tonight
We wait, and death tolls rise
Like embers from the phoenix nest
Of this vile sickness, nature’s best.
The shadows veil its silent shift;
Fingerprints fluctuate again,
Regrasps our throat; humanity moans
And tomorrow suffers the seismic drift.