An Economic Refugee

AN ECONOMIC REFUGEE

 

Tipped out of the boat and swimming in the sea

Am I an economic migrant or a refugee?

Pardon me while I clear my lungs of the Med

It prevents me from thinking with a clear head.

 

Once I belonged and had a place called home

It was basic and bare and stripped to the bone

I withstood the soldiers who barked their commands

Then the children arrived with guns in their hands.

 

Tipped out of the boat and swimming in the sea

Am I an economic migrant or a refugee?

 

Life or death was no more than a lottery

To take my chances in Africa was not for me

My family and I got the offer of a boat

It was beaten and battered, could only just float.

 

Tipped out of the boat and swimming in the sea

Am I an economic migrant or a refugee?

 

When the storm arose my young ones were lost

I survived without them, at a terrible cost;

Am I glad to have made it to the land of Italy

When I can see in eyes how much they pity me?

 

 

Tipped out of the boat and swimming in the sea

Am I an economic migrant or a refugee?

 

Alone and deserted in a makeshift room

I consider the future through a curtain of gloom

A hard-nosed woman in a language unknown

Demands to know if I came here alone.

 

The future, she says, depends entirely on me:

Am I an economic migrant or a refugee?

 

boat people


© Alan Combes, 2017. All Rights Reserved

Alan Combes