About me / Poetry

The Detention Centre

The Detention Centre
Christmas Island

With closed eyes
he looked at me
silently gazing

brazed lips
whispers and sounds
firmly locked in

heavy feet
sitting lightly
on an empty seat.

I crossed the blue
waves crashed, pulled me down —
I saw death a thousand
times and time again, death
looked me in the eye.
In the depth of these blue
hues, I lay to sleep searching
for a light, a drop of colour,
a hope of white

Evicted from the green
chased away
Strangled, chained —
now I am drowning
in blue. Only a prayer
guards my pocket, a lullaby
in a locket given by a mother
a daughter, a son

Frigatebirds fly high
over this island. Golden
and Silver Bosuns speak
my language. I am encircled
by life yet mine
has escaped. I wait
and wait for a bird who might
bring me back.

His eyes looked away
lips soldered back
I wanted to utter a word
but words stood still

I joined in
silently gazing,
flew up high and higher
and turned into a bird.

© Zeina Issa
Previously published in Contrapasso, Special Issue: Long Distance

Zeina Issa is a poet, translator and writer for El-Tetelgraph Arabic newspaper. Her poems, translations of poetry and essays have appeared in Australian Poetry JournalMascara Literary Review, The Red Room Company and Contrapasso. She is currently working on a poetry collection of new and selected poems by Iraqi poet, Khalid Kaki.

Golden Bosun. Photograph © Max Orchard Golden Bosun. Photograph © Max Orchard

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