I dreamed we had to cross the creek where the old ford once made it easy. The river was deep and the current strong. Silt turned the water brown. Or was the river a lake too wide to swim across? Or was it a sea? There were boats crammed full of people, shouting, who stood on cabin roofs, clinging to anything that would keep them aboard. They were the boat people of Vietnam, Somalia, South Sudan. They were toppling into the water, over and over, disappearing under… And I floated, floated, wakening, over, swimming, crossing, hoping, toppling, clinging, floating, floating…
A decade’s unreported anarchy brings blood and dust, charted in numberless rusted cells where violence tells and torture proves.
They flee across the desert by truck, in the hands and debt of gangs, to make border disappearances.
In Libya and Yemen the smuggled bodies pay for thieved papers with degraded favours. Honours are all lost.
In the sea is the promise of every era’s castaways: souls strewn on the dark silent waves, squinting for island havens.
A small craft is a black dot in the indigo deep, the sun only a fire, a boat just another raft for the medusa.