A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Sun spills silver stars of light along rippling summer waves.
A string of pelicans wing the horizon,
light in flight for all their heft.
Children squeal and squirm inside their plastic inflatable.
One slips over the side, feigns drowning, splashing and kicking,
holding onto his crying sister, jumps back in to tickle her side––
all of them then swimming in giggles and smiles in frolic and fun,
family picnicking at the shore, waving from bright beach towels.
Other children, roped onto rafts in flimsy life jackets, float in
from Aleppo across the Aegean away from bombs and bullets
to find a way out, forge a way in, whole families cattled
by smugglers, squeezed in dozens deep. But those who slip into
this dark sea cannot be rescued with innocent teasing and mirth.
A three-year-old washes up onto the beach face down on the sand,
limp body leaden in his father’s arms,
water lapping the wounded shore.
Copyright 2017 Andrena Zawinski. From her collection Landings published by Kelsay Books.