when tears salt my face and every slap
of ocean rises up to close my eyes. She squeezes
me tight. So tight I taste the sweat of breast and crumple
up with the purple flowers on her yellow sundress praying
we don’t tip out like stones. She can’t swim –
thumbs my tears away when I see there are no life
jackets on board says, ‘Son, Mamma strong,’
then turns to face the cruelty of blue on blue head on.
Mamma kisses me
with salted breath and tells me ‘God is watching’
the men who silence the screamers with sudden blows
and cold of gunpoint. She knows the sea is in charge of us all.
Pleads with it when small waves turn to battering rams and rolls us
around before rising up to navy mountains we think we’ll never climb.
The mute in the corner has eyes as big as moons.
I wonder, does he know better days are coming
as we drift, like Moses, into the night.