Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Leonardo Prize Year 10 Winner: Coast

by Isla Sligo-Young


Mirages twist me back and forth,
Coastlines l have been waiting for days roll over my mind.
The boat rolls and rocks,
The dinghy screams out for help just like mum did when the waves took her.
Dad holds me down, scared that if he lets go this trip will be more hell than hope.
The smuggler says we are almost there but I don’t trust him anymore,
All I trust is that the endless waves always come back for me,
All I trust is that the new land can never make up for this crossing,
All I trust is that the waves bring nothing but death and destruction.
l blink away the cliffs in front of me,
Take them from my mind and crush them beneath the waves,
They stay as solid as the old mountains at home.
Hysteria rises on our carrier, people push like a current to see what’s before us
I get swept under the feet as the tide rises.
Boat shifts and groans beneath its effort,
The splintering makes my stomach swirl like the water around us.
They hear it too.
We all hear it now.
I curl up, praying for the white horses to carry me to the shore,
They trust me now, they let me braid their fragile manes beneath my fingertips
I’m begging them to let me sit astride, to float like a wave to safety.
But they haven’t replied yet
Already they are grabbing at my ankles,
Clutching at my waist,
Clenching at my throat.
Sand spins around me,
Sea, sky and sand toss me back and forth
Back and forth,
Back and forth
Sand slams me down
Sea recedes
Sky takes over
I’m lying
I’m breathing
But I’m not living.
This isn’t living.


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