Poem: Salt

Somewhere onboard a baby cries
The yowling of my stomach is just as grating
and my mind is clouded with morning fog
I never wished to be furtive in bushes
dodging patrolling torches
talking in whispers
not even breaking
for punctuation
I don’t even want to leave
but times are hard

Somewhere onboard a mother wails
I cough the dust of the ocean
cast wary glances
sunlight breaking into the gloom
I never expected to get this far
being penned like sheep and sleeping
amongst small hopes and faeces
the grim crew and bad weather
the cold hands that took my money
and times are hard

Somewhere onboard an urgent call
then smoke and fire
then we panic in the hold
and are held in place by
yells and feet above us
water seeping through the planks
insistent and rising
legs shivering in the cold and cries
amongst us as we call out for release
children calling for parents
the captains brutish orders about lifeboats
the roar of fire and smoke and water
rising to our empty bellies
then flames in that water
a soup of limbs and tears
frantic thrashing paddling
wailing gulping salt
…air…no…air
…breathing in water….
…glimpses of the wide open sea…
…fish…broken planks… bodies…
…I never expected to get this far…
…a long day’s journey into night…
…my mother’s face…my father’s…
…my future…fading…eternal…

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