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Poem: This Time the Boy Does Not Drown

This poem is dedicated to Alan Kurdi and all the other children that have lost their lives at sea.

Whenever a child has a nightmare 

We speak the dream into water 

Water will lure away the mare and only leave night behind 

We have spoken all our dreams into water 

Be it a faucet or a river 

The hope that our dreams will ebb and flow 

Not succumb to the weight of drowning 

Be left with the depths of this blue body 

We are a people who know too well what it is like to be at the mercy of this benevolent tryrant 

This is the prayer that mothers speak into water when sending their children 

Onto the pacific 

In the hopes that they shall make it  

They do  

As many have  

Washing up shore like fish to a fisherman’s net 

The question remains 

Should we say alhamdullilah  

That they didn’t have to experience the pain of living 

Or should we say inshallah 

That they outlive the dead  

We keep finding ourselves in the midst of this abyss 

Nothing to hold onto 

The bluer the water becomes 

The clearer we hear the whispers of the brothers and sisters gone before us 

A constellation of stories weaving themselves together in the formation of fish 

Oblivious to the fight in us 

To the fear we feel 

We put salt in everything  

To remind ourselves of it’s bitterness  

Drain every body of water we can find 

Trick ourselves into thinking we control it 

Each morning we empty the sand from our shoes  

We can never quite get rid of it 

I don’t know if this punishment for making it across 

Or guilt that I made it and left my loved ones behind  

If the ocean is a vengeful being 

Or a reminder to sleep a little longer 

Through the nightmare so we can dream too 

Water is the most human thing  

To be so cunning and cruel towards anyone that dares tread on it 

But kind and loving towards those who succumb to it 

this is why children wash up ashore 

Replacing the seashells  

Their hands as small as shells 

For children who have been hunted by nightmares 

They only dream of escape 

When a child washes up shore 

We mistaken their stillness for sleep 

Death is too harsh a word to describe something so gentle  

Instead call it sunrise 

For they have escaped 

And they can dream again