- Vol. 08
- Chapter 01
They came across in anything
that would defy gravity for long enough –
boats, mostly, that clung to the underside
of patchwork balloons, faded and threadbare,
that barely made it off the ground.
And here and there a wheelless car,
a trolley bus with wings and fins,
a mini-submarine with makeshift sail,
the dining car from a fancy train
kept aloft by several dozen oars.
One guy had a leather sofa
tied beneath a giant kite,
his parents, wife and kids and dog
all squashed together, facing forward,
staring blankly at a non-existent TV.
The largest was a Mississippi paddle steamer,
arthritic, overcrowded, sagging
beneath the weight of human misery.
People sat on the roof, clung to the sides.
One or two fell off and had to swim behind.
And bringing up the rear,
an old couple on a winged bicycle
whose tyres would dip into the ocean
whenever they slowed their furious pedalling
just long enough to catch their breath.
But as they approached the border,
this caravan of desperation was turned away
with cries of no room, no room,
go back the way you came.
You’re not the sort we want in here.
So slowly, slowly, on a fading breeze,
they spun about and drifted off
in search of somewhere else to call a home,
all except the old couple who,
pedalled out, just sank beneath the waves.