What to take with you when you flee

Early morning. A Mediterranean-blue haze
seen from a rooftop of my overcrowded block
is the colour of my fear. It presses down on me
like the rubble of a bombed-out building
where only the concrete frame of a door
to nowhere remains. What to take with you
when you flee? A passport? Its official, royal blue
embossed with gold is of little use
when you are not free to cross the borders.
The cerulean shawl worn by my grandmother
as she scrambled onto the donkey cart
from her home in 1948, never allowed to return.
This I’ll carry like a weight around my neck.
Clothes? Toiletries? As many as I can stuff
into this bag and still leave room enough
to gather the severed limbs and bloodless blue
faces of fleeing children blasted on the safe
evacuation route. Water I’ll take in a blue can,
if the pumps are turned on long enough,
and bread, but I’ll leave behind all other
sustenance. It will save space. I’ll pack
the blues of our unemployed youth
in this youngest of populations,
for they will be impossible to leave behind.
And I’ll carry the memory of the blue scrubs,
stale with rusty blood and despair,
of overstretched doctors. The electric-blue
spark of hope has been turned off,
so that will not be coming. Enough! Time is up.
I hear the buzz of drones that turn the sky
from blue to night, each one bearing
a tiny blue star like an approaching
galaxy of death over this thin strip of land.



Sally Spiers








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