I flood my lungs
with the wet stench of fish and bodies and fuel.
Dinghy motor whines against the night.
Salt air grinds my skin ‘til it’s threadbare and
there’s no sitting since leaving Sabratha.
Body clenches tight to its bones
and shrill muscles shriek and weep and lock up.
Damp t-shirt clings to goosebumped flesh under a
tattered orange life jacket. But what life?
Next to me a shaking woman holds her boney baby
and cries. She has shit herself.
Behind me a man mumbles and mumbles for water.
His eyes roll hollow,
mouth slacks open.
From his breath
I smell the thick stink of rot,
the gray smell of
Lights of the Italian coastline appear and
my heart races,
From somewhere behind there’s a jolt.
And the lights of Lampedusa go black.