“A poppa emigranti soriani ballano”
It is not yet afternoon.
The sea air blooms and stings like a man o’war.
Summer rays bury the heat in the dunes;
deeper in the green-yellow colocynth
The sand gurgles and exhales.
The surf exhausts its reach on its parched flank.
Everything shimmers and bakes.
The sun does not ask for anything in return.
Salt and brine swoop through shuttered windows,
with a cackle of gulls.
It is always worse after a storm.
The sea roils and empties its pockets;
a weighted down kleptomaniac, returning the loot.
Who knows what came back and what didn’t?
Somewhere, on a shore,
some might have landed on a moonless night;
caped shadows glimmering in the shallow light.
Numbers, registers, snapshots, fences, and holding camps.
War, persecution, prison, slavery, ransom, torture and rape.
Between the two lips of the sea,
a listing rubber raft (made in Vietnam)
and the sea...
Roll the die!
Snuff the fire with a net of bubbles.
Build an island of hungry bone...
“A home? A coffin?”
“Man! Who dreams up this stuff?”
You gasp and struggle for air
belly a heaving sea.
Lay still and remember to breathe.