empty boat?

another boat full of dead families

washes up on the beach

paradise lost

for all their eternities


upturned bucket built sandcastles

joy-scaped sentinels

of impermanence

await a different tide


we turn the boat about

push it back

to the nowhere it came from

let its shadow fall there



their forced middle passage

no more of a choice than times past

we look away and build sandcastles

in the air of our own enslaved mindset



Yesterday a photo journalist by the name of Santi Palacios posted a disturbing image on Twitter, which formed the basis for this poem.

Middle Passage was a term used to describe a portion of the Slave trade route.


22 thoughts on “empty boat?

  1. Victoria C. Slotto says:

    Raw and intense. This happened with Cuban refugees as it does now with Syrians. Such a sense of hopelessness that I suppose we can extrapolate to include anyone whose hopes are crushed. Sad, indeed. And disturbing.

  2. thotpurge says:

    to the nowhere it came from
    let its shadow fall there…. it is horrible the way we so easily distance ourselves from horror and tragedy as long it doesn’t directly touch our lives. Well said…

  3. Bodhirose says:

    Well, I immediately thought of that saying “build castles in the sky” (although yours was in the sand) but it brought to mind a similar meaning of unattained hopes and dreams for those unfortunate souls.

  4. Gospel Isosceles says:

    Oh my God, that upturned bucket building sand castles juxtaposing the capsized boats really shows the horror of the state of our world: what an overturned reality some children live, and die.

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