Richard Carpenter

The photo of Aylan replies to a Tweet.

The Syrian boy was well clothed and well fed.
He died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe.
Queue jumping costs.

Now my lifeless body is photographed
at dawn, and goes viral in the news;
leaves the taker shaking at my voice.

Will my father feel a consoling hand
on his shoulder when he returns to Kobani
with the dead bodies of his family?

Not from from this clumsy bigot
who tweets lies with thumbs
dancing on a fancy 4G phone.

What would he have my mother do?
Wrap her son in rags so I freeze
on my fickle boat-ride to a life?

So I must be half dead and skeletal
before he opens up his heart
to accept the horrors that I run from?

Our gluttony was to seek the privilege
of working hard for a life of freedom,
away from the closed mind of tyranny.

Actually, my aunty cuts hair in Canada
and wished to sponsor us to join her.
She – and her neighbours – paid the cash.

The door was slammed in our face
without a queue to jump – or, like him,
wait our turn in. Does he know another way?

Will my father feel compassion from that hand
we ran from, even as he grieves?
Does he feel Iago’s hand give another twist

to sour his mind with jealousy and hatred
so he seeks revenge with you all
face down in the sand,
breathing in the breakers.


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