I cannot make your journey in this poem.
The thought of it repels me far - more than when I hear
The curled-lip word, "Immigrants".
Neither can I begin in the long lines of prose
To explain the way you sat in rows,
Or layers, overlapping; on laps,
To compare this to the 'waves':
Of farewells; of newspaper headlines;
Of bodies washed up and under crests -
It sickens me - I do not have the capacity,
Never will have the fullest empathy,
And no manner of research into the length of your canoe,
The gathering of careful statistics,
If there were: this number, or: that number,
Or whether you set off at particular cycles of the moon,
Will persuade me that I am capable of doing any justice
To your story, as it propels itself, towards me.
No number of hours sat, interviewing,
Or hand in hand listening quietly by your side,
Or observing your work on the shoreline of your new home
Will encourage me to try and put into words
What life has been like for you.
I will have failed before I embark,
And so sit far, far away from you, as a guest
To each footstep you take along the promenade.
Your Life, paid in coins, in deaths;
I am lacking, alongside...with still not enough respect.