To Dover from Calais

After midnight we drive through Sangatte 

on the outskirts, where teenagers rush to the tunnel. 


In the big-cat gleam of our headlamps 

the boys pause for a heartbeat— disappear in a flash. 


If you’re not really a Syrian 

is it safer in the Congo, or Afghanistan? 


While we all fiddle with our smartphones 

sniffer dogs inhale the articulated lorry. 


Two ferrymen tell me how they feel 

okay because they pull up the bridge and sail away. 


It’s only a joke if it’s funny 

so I don’t laugh at ‘they weren’t exactly invited’. 

from Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet, 2017), © Karen McCarthy Woolf 2017, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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