POETRY
Drowned in Numbers: Along the Turkish Coast
Emily Strauss

The names of the dead—
absent: 42453
etched on a slab of wood

no family, all drowned
at sea, a lone imam
chants 'forgive us our sins'

the tide washing up
more broken bodies
limp-armed children

bloated in the surf
and workers dig
more graves on the coast

no one comes to claim
the bodies: 42454
in freezing waters

winter-chopped
hours uncounted before
the coast guard comes

sweeping up the living
and dead, infants later
bathed and shrouded

still unidentified
taken for burial
assigned a number: 42455


Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 350 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is both a Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.