The Emigrant's Suitcase
By Ruairí Elms-Harrison, 2nd Year
As I stand on the pier, icy air.
Salt spray, sleet, stings my face.
I look to the sea and there,
My future is ahead of me.
Battling the tendrils of the abyss
Surging through the icy darkness
To port. To me.
I brace, water surging all around
Mighty waves clash with steel.
As my heart races,
I glimpse sunlight
And know we have arrived.
But to no land or safe harbour
It is the sea we came for,
Or what lies beneath
This heaving swell.
We ready the sub, anticipation.
Plunging the depths, excitement turns to terror
There! A behemoth, the unsinkable.
Beauty, magnificence, sorrow.
A briny grave, a place of screams
See there, something calling softly.
No Davy Jones locker, but a humble suitcase
Carrying dark secrets, treasure?
A robotic arm explores, gently, gently
No! I cry, as it dissolves into wet ash.
Not treasure revealed but ghosts…
Floating towards me, a photograph.
A young man cradling a baby girl
And a young woman, smiling.
Delicate like the suitcase, fragile,
Soluble. Wait! A fragment gently rests
On glass, words materialise through gloom
The dead do speak.
My sweetest Annabelle, I am truly sorry
To have missed your first birthday.
Daddy is nearly home, only a little while longer
Yours forever, Finn O’Hara, your loving father.
For months I have been searching,
Coming up to a year. Yet, here I stand
In front of this small cottage door,
What to say, how to act?
An auburn-haired boy shouts for his mum
What can I do for you? Silence fills me
I stutter with fear
Is Annabelle here?
Her sadness fills the misty air
Come through. A shrivelled old lady
In a bed of cotton,
Familiar soft blue eyes.
Silence takes me. Annabelle
Looks straight through me
I’ve something for you
A scribbled note.
She stares, reads, tears on soft cheeks.
Am I in heaven? Are you an angel?
I’m a messenger
And he loved you.