By Susan Adams. This poem is part of our December 2012 and January 2013 focus on Asylum Seekers.
We try our lives, father says
in mail from his Island of Christmas to Jakarta
nothing will happen otherwise.
With time to wind, dreams become hope,
secrets are a burden in streets.
The manifest left for later. It’s time.
Folded, we creep.
Our tongues are fed to silence
air is pitch, we stick;
counted, pushed, huddle the heat.
Panic locks us together
hearts shake with quick-time beats.
Have faith – we’re going to meet your father.
Children lost from our life
pinched into small, we are cracks
in the rotted deck, splintering.
Afraid is the new dawn.
Stars fail this worn out craft
as it heaves its list, too full.
From now nothing is known
mother’s face is strangeness
my feet are not my own.
We have left to arrive.
I pray in primal.
This boat is paper to the storm.
Rocks toy with our future
we are mice to the cats of gods
smashed in a drawn out slaughter
colours scattered on water.
My sister’s hand has gone.
I’m thrashing air
grabbing at new lights
choking on fear.
Land-blown voices mix with beggared calls
from the flotsam of family, as wind
sends souls across waves on wailing bells.
Hope is the water I wear.