The River Undertakers

It was only a matter of minutes after the tide had receded, but it was enough to expose her. The screeching of the seagulls identified the site for those creatures interested in such lifeless things.  Her bloated body lay caked in sticky wet mud that bubbled as the latent air found its way to freedom. A pitiful state for her to be found, unable to tell anyone how she came to be there, how she was a normal average pretty girl with a future and a life to live now taken away.

Whoever she was, she deserved so much more than this. Stuck here in this putrid mess she would have hoped for someone to care, someone to loving commit to finding the answer and the secrets she had to tell.

Peter and Harold didn’t look at her in the same way at all. They saw the tragedy of her state, as they did with the many others they found, but they took no account of the why. They simply wanted to make her safe. Living close to the river out of the view of the masses, they would always know when new ones would come. Wrapping them up with delicate care they moved them on their old trolley to their sacred site. It was an act of duty and respect for the old men of a worthy profession that had left them behind. A few hours later the young girl would share her final place of rest with the other tragic souls of the river, her story buried under the soil.

Receding waters bubble on the exposed shore
the river deposits its sodden waste.
Slowly her bloated shape is revealed,
arms and legs mummified in grey glue,
a face masked by solidified hair.

She rests as if hoping to be discovered,
anyone who would seek the story
of a girl deserving more than her fate
A rejected life from a city
taking no account of its mistakes

Old hands that grasp the tragedy of her demise,
They watch the banks, waiting for tide,
for what is left behind
for what no-one else would seem to want.

Affectionately they take her to their sacred site
to rest with others for whom misfortune fell,
their names untold as are the bodies they remove.
the undertakers to the river
laying to rest the secrets of the lost

© S.G.Norris