it’s got to be better than this, doesn’t it?
could it be worse?
what will we need?
what can we carry?
where will we find food?
what will we do when our money runs out?
when our clothes wear out?
when we need the toilet?
if it rains?
if it snows?
what is snow, Mama?
does it snow where we are going?
where are we going?
what language do the people speak?
how will we understand?
will we be there by winter?
we will be somewhere safe by winter, won’t we?
what if we’re not?
will Grandma make it?
should we leave her behind?
will this guy help us
or just take our money?
like the last one.
why can’t we leave uncertainty behind
with all our belongings, our friends, our life?
will we ever get away from fear and terror?
what if the boat doesn’t come?
how many is too many in one vessel?
where are the life jackets?
why did we never have an opportunity to learn to swim?
how can we help the children?
how long will it take?
are the waves always this big?
why do we have to go at night?
is it really safe?
what if the boat sinks?
will we be the next victims?
what will happen if we stay here?
will we be the next victims?
will our babies be torn from our arms?
will our daughters be raped?
will our sons be executed?
will our young people be taken?
what of those who already have been?
how will they find us if we go?
will they have anyone to find if we stay?
how do you know what to do?
what do you do when the chance of success is so slim,
but the consequences of failure unthinkable?
can we survive?
how can it be better to risk drowning?
but aren’t we the lucky ones,
the ones who can try to escape?
is this really better?
is this really a choice?
what if they turn us back?
what if they refuse us asylum?
what about those people who say we should use the proper channels?
don’t they know there aren’t enough proper places and we don’t want to die?
do they know desperation?
where will we find security?
will we ever find peace?
will we always have secrets?
will the pain ever abate?
will anyone help us?
who will understand?
have you heard the guns?
have you had to hide?
have you been hungry, really gnawingly hungry?
have you lived in a world of whispers?
have you heard the screams?
have you wondered if you’ll be alive in the morning?
have you hoped and prayed you would make it home from market with a loaf of bread?
have you ever waited,
you know not for what,
knowing only that it will be bad?
have you lived with fear?
are you familiar with sinking dread?
do you know sheer terror?
has despair been your companion?
have you heard the stories?
they couldn’t be true,
or could they?
are you scared of us?
do you think we’ll take your jobs, your houses, your tax dollars?
don’t you realise we’re clinging to life?
when you watch Masterchef, could you please remember we’re starving?
when you celebrate your birthdays, would you remember we’re burying our dead?
when you exercise, will you think about us running for our lives?
when you drive your cars, can you consider we don’t even know where we are going?
do you think
you could be
to any of our questions?