Humming the names of the tortured

Rain and chill winds hum the names
of the tortured, as my body
in comfort—heat vents
singing—reads their sufferings.

Through spattered window panes,
iris blossoms flare.  A bright flame
flickers in the wet breeze—beauty
bush—a thousand pink petals
opening while water-soaked
poppies, danger-alert orange,

bow down plastering the wet
grass, the ragged border stones. 
Sometimes, an interpreter or guard,
even an interrogator, the diary writing
prisoner reports, will weep
or question the cruelties
they are commanded to perform.*

Nectar seeking wasps
hide in their paper chambers
beneath the eaves of the old shed.
The leaves of the catalpa,
like worried hands, reach
for the earth.  All night the lost

sighs of lonely anguished
men wander through
my dreams.  I wake sensing
their bodies caged within mine—
hunched forms flinching away
from their tormentors—their
rough hands.

*Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guántanamo Diary, Little, Brown & Co., 2015.

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