"Turmstrasse (Tower Street)" by Riley McShane

The night was bitter cold
and biting
chain link fence
stood menacing
styrofoam food cartons
stacked tall haphazard
Stoic shapes huddled
twisting ‘round each other
old gripping young
like ropes
holding fast
 
weary white clouds  
rising from the bodies
spilling out into the street
 
I saw it only for a moment
 
daughter stretching
tiny gloved hands
to father from the other side
of the fence
I saw it only for a moment
 
I was walking home
 
I saw knotted hands pawing
at cigarette packs
I saw cots lying
still flat and desperate
In the callous tent flickers
 
I saw father
holding out for daughter
Syria’s children
Berlin going black around us
 
I saw it only for a moment