‘What happened next?’ by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

So, will we ever be told what happened afterwards
to the man who had fallen among thieves
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho:
half killed, what happened to him
after the Samaritan paid for his care at the inn?

Or what became of the women in Naples in 1944
who sold rough sex to soldiers in public for food,
their faces never changing as they took it?
How can I even ask, who would I ask? Indeed,
it was never the point of the story.

Fiction or truth, it will be told again:
This happened in my lifetime in a place I know –
the moment the light falls on the victim and then
it moves away slowly, the light
that also falls when there’s nobody there to see it.

When I begin the telling the words will not be quiet,
I have to lie down beside them and listen
to the crackling syllables that keep beginning again
each time the wheel of language spins,

but they never tell what happened after the ending.
They have so many stories, and not all
have been heard already, and not all of them
can tell us clearly what we ought to have done.