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The Black Kite

Over Manus Island,
a black kite flies.

A few youths –
still with energy
to bear the difficulties
of this prison camp  –
made it.

The black kite flies,
a messenger of freedom
for us, the forgotten prisoners.

It circles
higher and higher
above the camp,
above the beautiful coconuts.

Our eyes follow its flight,
it seems to want to tear its rope.

It breaks free,
dances towards the ocean,
flies far and again farther
until no one can see it.

The youths stare into the empty sky
after their impossible dream.

Behrouz Boochani
Translation by Ali Parsaei and Janet Galbraith

Deep Dark

That night in prison I had a toothache.
A dark night.
People were sleeping at that time.
I could not scream.

On that dark night I could not do anything.
I was fighting with pain.

An old man was there.
I thought he was dead.
76 years old.
He was very sick.

People were sleeping at that time.
It was raining.
There were dogs.
Dark night.
Deep dark.
I felt cold.

It was a dirty place.
The ground was hard.
I was without any pillow or blanket.
I had pain in my elbow, my knee and all my bones.
The ground was very hard.
I was so so hungry too.

That old man slept outside in the prison yard
near the fences on dirty shoes.
He was sick and they did not allow him to sleep inside.

76 years.
A long beard.
A muslim.
From Myanmar.
I thought him a mysterious old man.
He was vomiting near the fences.
He had to sleep on the vomit.
He was so dirty.
He slept like a foetus.

Inside the prison everyone was laying close.
Some lizards were hunting insects on the roof.
Inside the prison was light but outside was dark.
Most of the people had dirty sheets – a green colour.
I did not have a sheet or pillow.

Suddenly the sky started to rain.
The lizards and insects left.
The dogs started to bark.
I saw a mass grave all around me.
It was a green colour.

I stood up and went near the prison door.
The old man was sleeping near the door but outside.
I saw him and I thought he was dead.
I saw his vomit.

Far away light glowed under a tree.
I thought some children were asleep
near the prison
in a warm and soft place
and had sunk in their dream.
One evening I had seen the children.
They were playing. Happy.

The lights were cigarettes.
Some guards were there.

I had a toothache.
I was fighting with pain.
Outside was very dark.

Deep dark.
I was disappointed
and so sad.

Behrouz Boochani
Translation edit: Janet Galbraith

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