Sue Johns

Before Borders

There they are,
the Middle English:
fenced in with wages and pension promises,
stealing the sun from another world,
watching its innocents sink
as they haul in their safety nets.

Here they go
the governors of our great isles:
convinced that ‘the hand that feeds’
will be consumed to the elbow,
triple locking our doors,
bricking up our borders.

Here we are,
the liberally raised:
clinging to compassion as if drowning,
digesting the stories,
trying to put faces to the numbers
as they drift in and out of the headlines.

And there they are:
war-torn, brackish sea-sponges,
tormented in origin and transit,
fiscal invaders or expellees?
Men, women, children, people!
Foil-wrapped, camped, waiting to be processed.

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