The women of the Congo know this
their torn vaginas, pillaged wombs
mineral price tags for mobile phones.
And when this cannibal breed
stops gorging on its own body,
will it know how to grow a new one?
Women know their story,
is the same story, same body,
this is way beyond price.
Our body, our womb
our unaccountable miracle
of existence: ‘this holyest erth’.
I ran like a rat in the night
from men’s hands, their guns
from unspeakable things
an owl beat its wings in my chest.
I swam rivers, hid in bushes
wept for my lost child, my family
thanked God for the miracle
of an aeroplane ticket.
In your wet country, alone
instead of safety, faces
without pity, no money, no work
nobody to tell us how to tread
minefields of laws you do not explain
how to avoid the teeth
of lazy, fat crocodiles who
make money by sending us back.
How could we tell our shame
to strange men who did not believe us
who detain us, do to us the same
as those we fled from?
But we little rats found each other
learned to become a pride of lionesses
to roar the stories that choked us
and earn the right to stay.
No longer sorry for ourselves
together we will make asylum
mean what it really means.
We still thank God.
RACHAEL CLYNE – psychotherapist and writer, from Glastonbury. Rachael won the 2013 Indigo Dreams’ Geoff Stevens Memorial prize with her collection Singing at the Bone Tree. The poems concern our longing for the wild self and the journey of frustration and loss we encounter to reclaim it. Publications include: a collection:She Who Walks with Stones and Sings (PSAvalon); anthologies: The Listening Walk, Wells Fountain Poets, Love and Loss; magazines: ImPress, Poetry Space. She also has a self-help book Breaking the Spell – Keys to recovering Self-esteem (PSAvalon) www.rachaelclyne.com http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/rachael-clyne/4584569249 Her poems Asylum and The Price are dedicated to the All African Women’s Group, a self-help group for women asylum seekers.