What happens when violence disappears? What is left in the backwash of crisis? Who attends to the emotional, material and ideational detritus of closing borders? Like many, we are working in the aftermath of the recent and deadly intensity of EU migration. We contest the widespread account that the ‘crisis’ is now over – that policy makers have effectively ‘solved’ the problem of migration by gathering undocumented subjects into infrastructures of containment. We focus instead on the painful traces of EU migration that continue to be produced by global structures of citizen/alien; legal/illegal; friend/enemy. We do not produce a comprehensive diagnosis, normative argument or critical framework. Instead, we rest awhile in the aftermath of the crisis – specifically on the Greek island of Kos – to think about questions of abandonment, erasure and displacement. This is a visual essay representing a conversation between two researchers as they interact with the aftermath of the refugee crisis on Kos. Reflecting on select images from August 2016, we present a dialogue that directly speaks to a core theme each image raises. In doing so, we question some of the basic assumptions about how to do critical analysis on migration, security, and borders, and therefore seek to disrupt dominant modes of academic writing as well as the practice of research itself.