‘The world revolves like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots’ – T.S. Eliot

She wears the loosely-waisted dress of women
who’ve borne children, become broad-hipped.
She slips her coloured headscarf off in that
well-practised twist of thumb on knot and holds it

close against her nose and mouth. Her hair,
clipped short, is windswept and she smoothes it
as she steps among the tables, slowly,
weighing up the best cuts off the bone,

the bits might make a soup, the scraps would feed
the dog. For months no supermarket shelf
has shown such wide display, but here today
her housewife’s eye is clouded. Here today

on offer, crated, hosed of all the mud
they shared for months lie husbands, fathers, sons
of Visoko, each reassembled frame
of rib and rag to be identified

as what is left of a beloved. She
moves slowly past each figure, twisted rigid
in his last sharp foetal agony. She
scans the names and number tags. A skull

stares back, its mandible looped, respectfully,
along the box’s edge. The man with clipboard
comes and whispers. Yes, she nods. Yes.
And a camera whirrs and she becomes

Niobe, yes, still as a rock, but tearless.
Yes, she’s Deianeira too, but yet
won’t kill herself for love but carry this
last Yes for all that’s left of all her days

and nights. She signs. Yes. And collects
his keys and coins, steps into cratered streets,
becomes again a housewife scouring shops
for milk, fresh vegetables, a little meat.