Illustrated by VERONICA GIANNINI
On 3 October 2013, a boat carrying migrants seeking the shores of Europe––some from Libya, though many from Eritrea, Somalia and Ghana––sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Well over 300 people died.
your mother tells you of lampedusa;
a name you’ve heard time and again since youth.
of east african bodies washing up on its shores
(sometimes half alive sometimes not)
usually waves break against wood,
but she tells you of waves that break wood.
tells you of rafts and boats turned upside down,
of limbs reaching out, of mothers saving their babies
(or attempting to)
your mother tells you of camps for displaced persons,
she tells you of people worn out but clinging to life
of people smugglers pocketing their money, pointing to the sea:
“you go that way and freedom.”
they don’t know the blue hell that’s facing them.
some, however, do.
for some this isn’t a first encounter with deep blue waters.
some bodies are really vessels of faith.