Andy Willoughby

For Aylan

Aylan, I want to tell you I like your shoes:
They are smart and though you are alone on the sand
I know the ache of love in the fingers that fastened them,
How many of us remember fastening laces
For our kids at the nursery gate
And the tear in our hearts as we thought
I’m leaving my baby alone here now and she can’t even fasten her shoes yet?
You could kick a ball fine in them little man –
One day you could have been Lionel Messi in shoes like those.
I’ll only talk about your shoes son I know
The stranger who cradled you saw them too
And felt his heart change in his chest forever,
I can’t tell you how I feel about the fact
Chimps look after their children better than
The world has looked after you in the hour of need,
Or that our leaders have dropped their bombs on you
And shut their doors on you
And brought you to this beach where you
Should have been making castles of sand
This is for you Aylan and all the tiny ones
With or without shoes to be noticed and wept over.

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