Hilaire – Reborn

Reborn

for Talha

 

‘I will experience what very few ever do in this world: life after death.’

Letter from Talha Ahsan, Northern Correctional Institution, Connecticut, 28 May 2014

 

To experience life after death

is to hold your face up to rain,

each drop soft-sharp, soul-piercing.

To breathe in air vibrant with fumes

and sweat and spice, the dancing particles

of adjacent lives.

To walk in unbounded space

along streets and lanes,

through parks, across commons.

To walk until your feet bleed

and your ears shimmer with every

newly-heard city sound.

To lie on a bench and feast

on London’s heavenly sky.

To sleep again on sheets

washed by maternal hands,

smoothed tight against nightmare.

In your own time tell

how it was

how it is

in your own words

in your own

good time.

Hilaire grew up in Melbourne but moved to London half a lifetime ago. She has had short stories and poetry published in several anthologies and various magazines, including Magma, Brittle Star, Wet Ink, Parallax, Under the Radarand Smoke: A London Peculiar. Triptych Poets: Issue One (Blemish Books, Australia, 2010) features a selection of her poems. She is currently working on a joint poetry project with Joolz Sparkes, London Undercurrents, unearthing the voices of feisty and resilient women who have lived and worked in the capital over many centuries.

Blog: https://hilaireinlondon.wordpress.com/

 

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Hilaire – Letter from Battersea

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.
Good neighbours,
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.