If I told them your voice was a carnation
they would laugh. Predators,
they only ever understood the hunt,
their favoured quarry that wild beauty 
that knows no shame, but throws back its head
in abandon to laugh or sing 
and once, in my arms, to cry. 

Those ancient voices that rose from the river 
were no heralding trumpets
but hatred spat out in gobs 
that stained your immaculate shirt.
They came at you from below
like boars from the undergrowth,
snorting, stupid and dangerous
and not even your lithe, slender torso
could dodge their murderous intent. 

They’ve gone home now, brutes,
to boast in their cups, slathering
and backslapping your death 
as proof of their manliness. 
Here, the voices have stopped
but they left behind a poisonous fog 
that hangs over the river like prophecy;
the stars promise only death by knives. 

There are always angels, hangers-on
and do-gooders to cushion the victim’s head.
If it’s too late they can always light candles.  
I have nothing to remember you by,
not the miraculous medal from around your neck
nor the lucky coin from your pocket. 

So let’s not talk of sacrifice
or the ritual death of the bull-ring.
This was no rite.

                        And poet,
spare yourself the liberal guilt – 
the Guardia don’t want to know
and your turn will come soon enough.