Disclaimer: this poem contains references to suicide. The lines may only resonate with those who know the notion of suffering.

Translated by Saba Vasefi


My mouth soaked with shredded flesh,

veins engorged, touched by solitude's salve,

scent imbued with mortality's air.


The jailer,

a stranger to the language of suffering,

failed to fathom the accent of torment.


My unborn cellmate within,

a witness to her mother's passing,

held her dear,

yet, hungered not for her birth.


I etched the noose

on the throat of agony,

where death emerges as the sole path

boundless and borderless.


The coiled terror at my core,

and, as always, I only had myself.

Beneath me, the ground was hollowed 

I was suspended and outcasted. 


Branca's rusted voice

nibbled my vertigo,

as the ambulance conveyed

my asphyxiation to another cell.


Within the mist of suffocation,

reawakened consciousness,

life persisted,

yet imprisoned.


I recognised the nurse by her scent,

injecting solace into my vessel,

before forsaking me

among exuberant rats 

leaping from a pail.


The adjacent chamber,

was lamenting

for the barbecued fate of

a fellow detainee.


His aqueous blisters,

youthful life,

crawled across

death without a visa,

an unsanctioned departure,

amid apathetic gazes.


Long live humankind,

long live democracy,

long live human rights,

not even a chilled towel proffered,

to soothe his scorched body.


Encircled by the ashes of longing,

with one hand, I caressed death's nape.

It was calm and tranquil

but the other hand mirrored the fetus' fingers,

once more, my own flesh held me in check.


I wept

for the memory of my

self-immolated cellmate,

and my newborn girl behind bars.


Writing In Resistance deals with lived experiences within Australia’s detention regime and aims to unveil realities of gender-based violence in pursuit of justice and equality via poetry. Therefore, some of the content may potentially trigger some readers. If you require mental health support or assistance, a list of free confidential 24/7 support lines can be found here. You are not alone in your journey.