How do I teach, two little girls, playing schools with dolls, about evil?
At story time, when do I introduce, that heroes die, that bad guys win, that bad things happen and good people cry?
Night night, my darlings. Sleep tight.

How do I hold them tight enough, now, to keep them from harm?
Where is the silver lining, the balm, the meaning?
Horror streaming live – dying in my living room.
How do I teach reason when there is no reason, safety without fear, life without death, love, when hate walks the streets, our lives, with knives?
When it cuts.

How can I show them light when the dark eats away at my edges, whispering worst case scenarios? Pledging death.
What happens if the bad dreams don’t go away when when I wake up? When they wake up?
What happens if it’s them next, if it’s me, waiting, baiting, clenching, wrenching? Running frightened in the night from real life monsters, real death, real – etched in red, raw, detail – sealed in blood.
Unmoving on a pavement.

How can I let them go? How can I let them grow, in this world, when I know what it contains?
How do those families carry on?
How do we?
They say, look for the helpers, look for the brave, for the love, for the flowers.
But what if you can’t see them for the tears?
What if the fear is, deep down, after all, that it will be the petals that fall?
Lining a velvet, fragrant, grave, for the babies you are – ultimately – powerless to save.
Ice, in your heart.
Freezing feeling.

They say, don’t give them what they want.
They say, don’t live in terror.
It is easier said than done – the weight of that responsibility a stone, a ton, on my chest – on yours.
We are all now, a nation who cannot breathe deep – steeped, in sadness. In fear.
It would be so much simpler to let love stifle and wilt, protect to the hilt, let that morph to defence, and hone to hate.
And hate attack back.
They are two sides of one coin, spent either way. Flipped, flippant, fleeting.
Close. So close.

How can it be, that twisted by fear and hate, love is suddenly bombs and blades?
They are us. We are them. Lives entwined, enslaved.
We stop breathing, stop thinking, and we cut first – rewind, repeat, the cycle of violence.
So we must keep breathing. Keep thinking, keep loving, and keep living life.
For how can I let love be soiled, turned seething, boiled black by their rules?
When love for me lives in two little girls, with pink dolls.
Playing at schools.