Bec Draper

And There He Sat

A small dark-haired boy in a sweet rocket shirt, grinning beside his big brother,
Loving life and its gifts, and the safety he knew in the arms of his father and mother.
They’d fled from their land seeking freedom from fear, long before he had known
That this foreign abode was far from his birth, and far from the place they’d called home.

And there he stood, in his yellow sweatshirt, as plans for the future were formed –
This refugee camp was not a safe place to raise the sons they had borne.
They could not go back to where they had been, for Terror and Torture and Death,
Stood in their way and vowed to consume any man, woman or child that was left.

And there he sat on the couch in his faded white shirt, as his parents watched hope slip away,
The impossible paperwork process demands stole a little more freedom each day.
As he slept, late at night, his parents devised their last desperate plan to be free,
A plan to reach shores far away from the fears, that tormented this lost family.

And there he slept in pajamas of blue, as his parents packed basic supplies,
Then gently woke him, and carried him out ‘neath the darkened midnight skies.
Silently, softly, his mother dressed him in shorts and a shirt of bright red,
A new set of clothes for his new home to come, a fresh start for this journey ahead.

And there he sat in his new red shirt, in a boat on a soft moonlit night,
Nestled in by his brother, ready to sail, toward a future more hopeful and bright.
His sturdy new shoes that his Mama had tied, were ready to walk him to freedom
When they stepped from this boat, his brother and he, with Mama and Baba to lead them.

And there he sat, in his damp red shirt, when the boat, over-filled, took on water,
When panic prevailed and fear froze the night, and they knew they would not cross the border.
Into the ocean the family plunged, Mama grasping for arms that could save her,
As she clung to her boys, and Baba held her, and they prayed that their strength wouldn’t waver.

But the ocean was cold, and the night long and dark, and nobody knew they were waiting,
The waves rose around as they clung to the boat, til the moonlight and hope began fading.
And there he held on in his wet red shirt, until he could fight no more.
And then there he lay in his cold red shirt, stilled, in the sand on the shore.

And there he’ll stay, awash in our minds but forgotten by hardening hearts,
Mourned by the world and lost to us all while-ever we stand apart.
A small boy dressed in a shirt of bright red, now forever asleep on our beach,
Wanted by none until he was lost, but leaving so many more in our reach.

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4 comments

  1. So vivid, so alive, a memory that will never leave, two brothers and their Mother, gone, but never forgotten. A photo that woke the world and brought torrents of compassion, which turned to physical help and aid and love.

    Liked by 2 people

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