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Elegy for Aylan Kurdi, Galip Kurdi, Rehan Kurdi (poem)

2 September 2015
Most of us saw those photographs.
Washed up small sneakers first, face down
in the blunt sand, forehead lapped
by the torpid, receding surf,
a drowned three-year-old slumps against
the gritty diminishing edge
of one flotsam-caked Turkish beach,
one among others. Waterlogged,
red t-shirt and blue shorts cling
to his numb frame. Officially
compassionate, a policeman
puts on a pair of latex gloves
and grimly lifts the child’s slack form
away. Somewhere along the strand,
his drowned mother and brother wait
their turns. There can be no refuge,
no coming home, no going back
for them now that a capsized world
sees fit to care. Who can gather
their overwhelming remainder
into our staid human embrace?