Tears track his leathered face like seawater spilled from a sinking hull...
Lampedusa Island, Italy
There are heroes in the seaweed.
Tears track his leathered face like seawater
spilled from a sinking hull, last night’s catch
hauled from a wreck of scorched Eritrean
refugees who foundered in surge beyond
the Island of Rabbits, hundreds schooled
around a seven meter skiff, his right arm
winching line, twenty survivors dragged
on board before his shoulder froze
and the ship listed starboard, waves
withholding judgment as he red-lined to harbor.
They say a one armed Italian has lost his voice,
and this morning his fluent arm mimes clear air
in graceful arcs and staccato bursts, fist pounding
south, injured arm locked in a sailcloth sling,
torn tendons helpless against gravity,
nails clawing canvas too tough to grip.
“The Fisherman” was commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation (terezinmusic.org) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The commissioned poems were published by Beacon Press in the 2015 anthology, Liberation: New Works on Freedom From Internationally Renowned Poets.