We came across water
made shore in darkness
woke on sand.
We saw strong young men, warriors.
They came towards us,
pointed their weapons at us.
They asked us who we were, why we had come. Sat us down on the earth to wait.
They gave us water. We were weak from travel, exhausted.
They came, the delegates.
Stern folk who smiled cold like the ones we ran from.
They had travelled overnight to reach us.
The nurses, the doctors
they closed their mouths.
Their lips did not know the shape
of the desperation they saw
in bodies, in faces.
Their hearts did not know the strange
strength of the hope under our flesh.
But their eyes knew the stories of the scars.
Their bones had not known the weight
of those who had died on the journey.
Their hands did not know the shape of
the fears we carried.
But they saw the long shadows stretching out behind us.
They did not understand us,
or we them.
But to hope is to open
and through it we are opened.
So it began.
Image: Brisbane Waters sunset