Making a call to Senegal
(after reading Anthony Loyd’s Letter from Tripoli)
We have no words, it seems, no common language
in such times, and yet if faced
with pain, we know our own.
It chimes with tears, with loss, with being
dropped into a vortex of despair.
A borrowed phone for minutes, call home–
what could we say when there is no way back,
no place to go, no hope.
He rings. He speaks. He weeps.
Cuffed to the bed, smashed head and ruined wrists,
one leg, no name they’ll take–a common story,
say the nursing staff. He’s sub-Saharan,
a cheap labour source, now even cheaper.
This is Libya. Bad to stay. Drown if you leave.
The frightened dreams of many for some huddled future
that might offer dregs to feed a life.
No real choice. And there are no words
because they have no voice.