Whistleblower by Pauline Sewards

(in celebration of Chelsea Manning)

 

Because you were pulled like a snail from a shell

and your name was kicked around like a football

and you were raised on sour milk and diesel air

spawned from sun and swimming pools

transposed to coal and  valleys poverty

you learned  the art of being bullied.

 

The mask was around your eyes and your limbs were bound

you woke from delirium to a blood haze called reality

you woke and saw your body lying far below

and felt the tender pull of nostalgia.

 

Code was a thrill

when you unleashed your message in a bottle

into an optic fibre sea

tough skin grew over the raw pink scars of your redacted name

as you entered the nihilism of spilling secrets

where each secret had other secrets bound to it

like ears on a fungi of ears on a fungi of ears

 

Your courage was visceral

survived dehumanisation    When they couldn’t silence your tongue

they cut your hair

 

Your name was in neon and it was the name you always wanted

when the light departed first turning a key at the flick of a pen

And freedom will walk you through a tunnel of cherry blossom

to swim in cool waters unobserved

 

Some traditions live through centuries so we will salute you

with honest cake and paper cup bubbles

 

When you spoke  a chime struck on the side of a ringing bowl.

and that clear note is still vibrating.

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