Voyagers by Matthew Smith

People, packed tight into the backs of lorries
like tinned sardines.
When we see them washing up on the shore
we remark that they were
‘Simply returning to the sea.’
That’s where they belong,
not breathing our air, breathing our waters,
there’s room down there
we can spare a whole corner of Atlantis,
but not one square metre of our Zion,
our promised land was promised to us,
it’s never been a melting pot,
even if it looks distinctly like a cauldron
if we add anything more
it will be boiling over.

We don’t care if you’re dying on our doorstep,
just don’t get blood on the welcome mat,
the “welcome” isn’t for you,
it’s for the privileged few.
Only people with capital
are allowed in our capital
that’s why the housing market is in “boom,”
gentrified neighbourhoods,
prices through the roof,
we barely allow our own to live here,
so why do you think we’d allow you?
There are thousands of empty homes,
and there are thousands of people homeless,
we say that we shouldn’t be taking more people in
we should be dealing with our own first,
our own hungry,
our own sick,
our own war torn,
the veterans that we leave laying in the ditch,
we say we should deal with them first,
when we’ve never even tried to help
quench a stranger’s thirst ourselves,
that’s for someone else to do,
someone else should help them first
instead of helping you.

We’ll continue to see
the victims of terrorism
as potential terrorists,
we’ll never think that maybe they
have more reason to hate them
than us.
We’ll watch the shores turn red
the tides awash with the dead,
we’ll think to ourselves
at least we’re safe,
at least we’re home,
whilst there are people
who can’t breathe the words home and safety
in the same sentence,
and are willing to stop breathing at all
just to get to our home,
just to inhale our safety.
all their lungs are filled with
is water.

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