By the time you scramble
with a hundred others
onto a rickety boat
to cross the Mediterranean
some part of you has already drowned

By the time you jump
into the Rio Grande
child strapped to your back –
even a straw upon the water
looks like the hope that life has denied you

By the time you squeeze your dignity
to fit a into a steel container on a cargo ship
the world has shrunk everything about you
and taken all it promised
except you’re still fighting,
still giving it everything you’ve got.


Every year, thousands of people risk their lives to seek better lives in different countries. In 2016, for instance, over 140,000 people from Somalia, the DRC, Libya and other countries crammed onto overcrowded boats and headed across the Mediterranean sea for the promise of better lives  Europe. Many didn’t make it. CNN published a photo essay from one of the crossings which included several boats and over 3,000 people. In one of the photos, a man holds an infant over the heads of other people on a crowded boat. In another, a baby is hoisted from the water into the hands of a man on another crowded boat who himself looks like he is about to topple into the water. Others showed more gruesome scenes from the boats. I thought, these babies are just about the same age as my own daughter.  The Mediterranean crossings still go on today.

POEM © 2019 – Iz Mazano
For #30PoemsInNovember
PHOTO Royalty free – Lespinas Xavier on Unsplash

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