Poems of Loving

That Woman on Lesvos

That woman,
the one climbing out of the sinking boat
the one with blue lips in a light summer coat
the one whose life jacket does not even float.
That woman could be me.

That man,
the one with holes in his worn out shoes
the one who has nothing left to lose
the one you saw on the six o’clock news.
That man could be my brother.

That elder,
the one so weak she can barely stand
the one clutching grandchildren in each hand
the one uprooted from her ancestral land.
That elder could be my mother.

That little girl,
the one too dazed to take sweets or fruit
the one not crying, the one who’s mute
the one Assad’s soldiers didn’t shoot.
That girl could be my daughter.

That fisherman,
the one overwhelmed by the thousands who flee
the one fishing bodies out of the sea
the one abandoned by the powers that be.
That man could be my father.

Those people,
the ones on the shore offering sweet cups of chai
the ones handing out clean clothes that are dry
the ones who can’t bear just to stand by.
Those people could be us.

About this poem: In a bitterly cold January in 2016, I was on the Greek island of Lesvos witnessing an unstoppable flow of humanity from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Morocco, of people like you and me, arriving from the nearby Turkish coast.