KR OnlinePoetry

Two Poems

Photographs of refugees

A photo spread across the center divide imitates enormity,

black-and-white sea ridges, erupting surfaces in constant motion

ongoing and endless to the edge of the page where chalky sky

takes over, in the far distance a rubber raft crammed low in the water,

two men drag themselves after days at sea,

struggling to pull from the shallows, weighted by winter coats,

space blankets reflecting light folded over the shoulders

of a woman shading her eyes, intent on what can’t be seen,

the photographer writes he’s only a witness to the surge,

Idomeni 2015—. . . what is witnessing, as if in and out

in and out of the sea, in a distant room unable to pull away.


photo of Mediterranean refugees

an image comes back and haunts me, two women bent into strong wind, side by side in black coats, their backs to the camera, the sea to the right, her cane to the left, barren land abutting the sea, no faces, no voices, turned away from those in the foreground, looking out, faces gray, mouths frozen and downturned, in the foreground a boy pulls the sleeves of his sweater over his hands or puts them in his pocket or the hand-me-down covers them, anticipation stalled in the silence of Sep-Dec 2015, without a future, without a past, one of the two women caught with a foot in the air, just walking away, although what looks implacable, one foot after another, can’t be—