Mother and her six-year-old already on the slab, their lives

Laid out in tribute to the granite sea. Outside,

Shrieking wind and white stripes of sunlight, nailing slates of cloud

Late that summer’s unforgiving afternoon.


Above the beach along the boulevard – some locals have the front

To call it that – the flotsam and jetsam of emergency response:

Extra ambulances, police cars and people in uniform, washed up here without

Purpose, now all’s been said and done, and said and done again.


Why in the world do they come, these further bods and plods?

Why stand in clusters not talking, dark mirror

To earlier frolics on the sand, solemn projection

Of processions to follow the procurator fiscal’s report?


If not gratuitous nor ghoulish, then keen to offer order

Perhaps to supersede the senselessness of drowning in sunlight

But the dead are beyond our ordering: nature trumps character;

Their bodies brought inside is as far as we can bring them back in line.