Watching Boat People on TV
Pick one of these lives to hold
in the palm of your hand
examine its shift and tremble
like a rice grain, or even, husk
blown by a sea breeze over the field,
or beyond the cliff, back into the sea
where it came from, where we all,
if we were to admit it, came from.
An image, after all, is no more than
light signalling ghosts
for our minds to interpret
nothing tangible but a glass screen
no stench of vomit or rotting flesh.
Turn off the cries with finger and thumb.
Easy to fence ourselves in, with face masks,
massage, IPODs and this year’s car.
Easy to count something other
into your dreams, nod at the head on the news
who suggests they go home,
as if rice grain or husk has choices.
I wonder if, one day, our ghosts
will grow heavy as anchors
or bob on the sea like thousands
of unsinkable tombs.
Adrienne’s poetry and stories have appeared in the small press, including anthologies Miracle and Clockwork (Other Poetry) The Clock Struck War (Mardibooks), and The Other Side of Sleep (Arachne Press). She recently published her first poetry pamphlet Taking Responsibility for the Moon with Mudfog Press. Her first novel Vermin (Flambard) was published in 2000. Her second novel Controlling Aphrodite was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize 2009. Her third novel The Kiss is published on kindle. She has written two poetic sequences Flight Path and The Fibonacci Sequence, and performed her poetry at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with Voices of Women.