‘The Great WAPA Migration,’ A Poem by Filippo Cassinelli


Editors Note: The U.S. Virgin Islands’ population dropped 18 percent – from 106,405 people in 2010 to 87,146 today – according to the 2020 U.S. Census.


The journey began
in darkness winding
through barren landscapes
towards the hope of
a better and affordable life, beyond the rocky
shore of the island
and the blue sea
stretching to the horizon.

Long lines of people
moving under the stars,
on the marbled moonlit
road, walking to the sound
of occasional generators,
humming in homes
of those who braved
to remain behind,
past the empty houses,
darkened memorials,
bearing witness
to the silence
of the departed.

This is the journey
in the night,
a place beyond
the wind-whipped sea,
a distant Mainland,
to the endless glow
of promise,
of a better and brighter
light-filled future.

The great pretenders
have their work cut out,
revising the Census,
spinning the narrative
of the night of exodus,
for those who stayed,
into a radiant and shining
mirage of hope.

– Filippo Cassinelli is a business owner from the island of St. Thomas.