Lampedusa, Cold Water

NaPoWriMo, 19/30

Anatomy of the word ‘capsize’:
Our hands, heavy, reached leeward for rescue,
Our boat, heavy, reached with us,
Our eyes, heavy with sights spurned, flailed ahead,
Our legs, heavy with flight yearned, reached for sea,
Our voices, heavy
On the sudden
Did not rise like flares to grapple the sides of ships that churned past,
Because everything in the refugee is heavy, like a stone.
Hope is heavy,
Fear is heavy,
Coast guards heavy,
Shut doors, heaviest on these narrows that lied,
And legs cannot cycle to shore
Fast enough,
Cannot trek the rest sure enough,
And our bodies are
Brown in cold water,
The café we make not strong enough to waken buoyancy
On the
Not fluid enough for the kraals of home
Made of fires we cannot now return to.

Anatomy, of a world capsized:
Hemispheres are heavy,
And many times, we died,
Films of ambition all they could identify us by,
Our knocking hands still fisted around
The promise of Lampedusa, always dry.

© Tolu Oloruntoba
12.50 am, April 20, 2015

For the migrants, dead off the shores of Europe, and in the most recent instance, the 600+ that drowned off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, fleeing Libya when their boat capsized. Our basic humanity demands sympathy for people who risk it all, just for a shot at a better life, and sometimes fail.

Image attribution: By John Edwards ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons