Their report cards pinned to their chests will not have 
saved them    pathetic passports     barely good enough 
to make paper balls

loaded dice     error message     this world is not their home 
the white border closed to the children of the rusty trawler

the words are absent     only want to pray     & bow down before
the fallen children in the field of honor of the struggle for the good life 
their grades pathetic passports pinned to their chests

night after night in the Mediterranean Sea     in the middle of a tablecloth 
of paper funeral flowers     a boat wanders off course     and sinks

this world is not their home 
forever closed the white border

Translated from French by Kareem James Abu-Zeid

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Summer 2021

Issue 99

The Summer 2021 issue of Poetry London, André Naffis-Sahely’s first issue as the magazine’s new editor, features poems by Anne Waldman, Claudia Rankine, Najwan Darwish, Iman Mersal, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Momtaza Mehri, Roseanne Watt and Seán Hewitt, as well as a previously uncollected poem by John Ashbery (1927–2017).

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