Lampedusa

We were at our nets
heard cries —
Soon there was gold braid,
shiny buttons and polished shoes
stepping around the slime
of dead fish. They lifted
binoculars to their eyes
fixed bodies in the lenses:
mothers, fathers, daughters
sons, brothers, sisters,
grandfathers, grandmothers,
nephews, nieces, cousins,
aunts and uncles.
‘Look away’, gold braid ordered.
‘Attend to your nets and catches.
There is nothing to be done.’
We pushed our boats back out to sea
pulled out the living —
one-hundred and fifty-five.
Later gold braid sailed
out in shiny boats
brought back three-hundred and sixty-six
bodies wrapped in shrouds.

moya pacey

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