The first clutch lands on al-Ajami street,
flattens the whole souq.
We cling to each other beneath the table.
Her nails pierce my skin.

When the bombs stop we emerge
like hatchlings. She watches her belly,
rocks it, bids it quicken.
In the street people lie broken.

We do what we can: lug stones,
keep the dogs away.
The sun dips. We light oil lamps,
make love quietly, talk of the best way out.

In Benghazi, militiamen beat us,
take our money. We reach a fishing village
near Al Nakheel, hide behind tamarisks.
The boat is late.

At sea the engine judders, misses beats.
Lights on the shoreline die.
The moon whispers. We dare not move,
a crewman’s boot the edge of our world.

© peter wilkin

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