We cannot carry you, our arms warm and dry too late at the shore of what has cradle-fallen what sent a woman who fears the sea what sent a man who fears the burning skies of his country into the razor-edged waves.
We cannot carry you, tiny boat capsized, upturned fish floating in the glass bowl of our screens.
We cannot carry you. We sink deeper, beyond the midnight zone. How to measure the trenches of our silence, little one?
We want things smaller than we know. A vessel strong enough to lift you into tomorrow, a life jacket or two, a pair of small shoes pressing into the sand.
From Arab in Newslandby Lena Khalaf Tuffaha (Two Sylvias Press, 2017). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha has lived the experiences of first-generation American, immigrant, and expatriate. Her heritage is Palestinian, Jordanian, and Syrian. She has lived in and traveled across the Arab world, and many of her poems are inspired by the experience of crossing cultural, geographic and political borders.