By Sharon Hammad
This poem was shortlisted in the Right Now Poetry Competition, judged by Maxine Beneba-Clarke, Amanda Anastasi and Benjamin Solah. Read the shortlist here.
They leave by night in numbers large and small,
Risk lives and limbs aboard a crowded boat.
Surrendering into the smugglers’ thrall,
They pray the leaky vessel stays afloat.
Already they have journeyed far and long
Away from loved ones urging them to flee,
No luxury to ponder right or wrong,
Asylum-seeking their necessity.
Some say that empathy is misapplied
To those who can afford to “jump the queue”,
As if their tragic pasts can be denied.
So desperation robs them of their due.
The surging sea devours its friendless prey
For whom, it seems, there is no other way.
Sharon Hammad writes short stories and poems for adults and children. Her work has been published in Woman’s Day, FreeXpression, Narrator and Yellow Moon.