Guinea-pig — (*) In naval mine warfare, a ship used to determine whether an area can be considered safe from influence mines under certain conditions or, specifically, to detonate pressure mines.1


Float their bodies2
held together with twine and prayers.

How many can a blood-dark sea hold
in its wet embrace?

Washing upon the shore
in this year that we inhabit.

Make sure our land’s edges that line
the water stay clear.

Remember to pack the beach chairs, towels,
the sunscreen, hats, a frisbee and the cooler.3

It is how we arrive at the beach
during war.


[1] US Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (October 17, 2007)

[2] According to UNHCR more than 5000 refugees died in the Mediterranean in 2016. Bodies washed ashore on beaches in Libya, Greece, Turkey, Italy and France.

The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide reached 59.5 million at the end of 2014, the highest level since World War II, with a 40% increase taking place since 2011. Of these 59.5 million, 19.5 million were refugees (14.4 million under UNHCR’s mandate, plus 5.1 million Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s mandate), and 1.8 million were asylum-seekers. The rest were persons displaced within their own countries (internally displaced persons).

[3] The Mediterranean Tourism Foundation (MTF) states that the Mediterranean region attracts approximately 350 million tourists annually with almost 30% of global tourism making the region the biggest tourism destination in the world and generating on average 250 billion euros per annum.