Brenda Read-Brown

Crossing the border
with acknowledgments to Edward Thomas

I don’t remember anyone –
No names. On that first afternoon
Of heat, one died and two were sick;
No-one expected this so soon.

The men kicked on the wagon walls,
But no-one heard; well, no-one came.
We all stripped off; it did no good,
But darkness hid our naked shame.

And where we’d stopped, we could not tell,
Nor how long we’d be there, nor why;
And fear hung thick as thunderclouds.
We longed for sunlight, air, bright sky,

And we all stank, and no-one spoke.
Two more were dead that first evening,
And four next day. I wish that I
Did not remember anything.

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