Letter from Battersea
to Shaker Aamer, Guantanamo Bay.
The park is much the same.
Spring arrives earlier each year.
First, snowdrops, in stealthy clumps,
nodding their hope to the sodden ground.
Crocuses, sudden cups of lilac,
saffron, ivory, trumping St. Valentine’s Day—
cruel anniversary of your rendition,
your unmet son’s birth.
And still a coming-up of daffodils;
blizzards of blossom on leafless trees;
catkins twisting towards detachment.
Birdsong and nesting exist in this place.
I press words into the page—
forget-me-nots sewn in your name.
Down the road,
they are laying the foundations
of the new American embassy.
we are preparing our welcome.
See our banners. Hear our chants.
Free Shaker Aamer.
Bring him home.
Shaker Aamer is the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held since 2002. He has never been charged and was cleared for release in 2007 but is still imprisoned. His family lives in Battersea. For more information see: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/shakeraamer/
Hilaire grew up in Melbourne but has lived in Battersea, south London, for nearly 25 years. She has had short stories and poetry published in several anthologies and various magazines.Triptych Poets: Issue One (Blemish Books, Australia, 2010) features a selection of her poems. Her novel Hearts on Ice was published by Serpent’s Tail in 2000. She is currently working on a joint poetry collection with Joolz Sparkes, London Undercurrents, unearthing the voices of feisty and resilient women who have lived and worked in the capital over many centuries.
My website: http://hilaireinlondon.wordpress.com