panic in the ragged edges
of her voice, calling
a child’s name into
the twilight.

guilt rising hot and acrid,
instant heartburn,
churning her stomach
with a wooden paddle
of speculation.

her breathing serrated
by apprehension,
imagination supplying
every gruesome
possible outcome.

the inevitable
parental press appeal
cliché of TV dramas
dries her throat
and drains her will.

she all the time,
against her will,
visualises the pathos,
the poignancy
of a tiny white coffin
lowered into the earth.