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Spectre, Malmesbury

by Abu Bakr Solomons

Seeking salvation’s never been easy:
even if you cloister yourself during
sacred hours in a house of worship
retreating to rise above the profane.

Nothing safeguards supplication
for vengeance and zealous bigotry
become a butcher’s knife that slits
a throat, plunges into a pious body

in the middle of a night – fallen heart
submitting to visions of delusional
bliss, blinking from blood-drenched
miasmic and macabre missions.

All that’s left is knowing that the walls
of a mosque, a town’s healing springs,
have collapsed, inhabitants now ruled
by fear and perpetual threat.

A bullet-riddled stranger lying in the
dust is a spectre offering no clues,
except to say: it has arrived, no longer
a faraway figment that menaces others.