Lesley Quayle


Every day the ocean stirs,
wearing its distances like sagging weights,
its H2O, soft rills or rearing breakers,
the ebb and flow a centuries old game
of Chinese whispers,
as drowned and drowning
murmur names and prayers, their voices
widening across the skin of water
in anguished shoals. 

Plucked from the sullen sea
a tiny shoe, a dripping toy, a photograph,
the carrion of broken boats and bodies
caulking the shoreline,
the latent dreamers,
the nameless hopers,
the no longer screaming,
the seekers after nothing more
than safeandsound. 

And this is their destination, in the cold pre-dawn
as stars crackle in their constellations,
after the thousand dangers of a journey,
they arrive, wet to their terrified bones,
washed up on the muttering tide
in their wreaths of kelp and algae,
lungs blistered with salt,
their eyes dead moons.
Hold out your hands – say “Welcome home.”


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