LETTER FROM GITMO

Not the most timely of poems, but the place is still there, a monument to the darkside of the American vision

LETTER FROM GITMO

I saw a ray of sunshine today, 
on my way once again to be questioned.
Another day starts at Guantanamo Bay
As I begin my fifth year in this prison.

I squint at the sight
through a door on the right,
tropical sun shining bright 
on the dead face of Faysal, from Yemen.

Sunlight’s often used as a symbol of hope, and
in like manner so are doors yet unopened.
What this light shows only deepens my gloom,
heavy steel doors open to portals of doom.
Such is the evil done here in these rooms.

The questions begin with a fist to the chin,
long shocks with the prod leave me shaken.
Come, Salim. Tell all, or your pal down the hall
won’t be the only corpse wrapped up in bacon.

I’m a simple man, just protecting my homeland
from invaders, I cry, as any man surely would.
After you good guys smart-bombed my garden,
The men you call bad gave my poor family food.

I have nothing to tell them
save names of now dead men,
names given so many times before.
Long hours in chains, the guards re-awaken
me, wipe their shoes on me, spit on my sores. 
The time is measured in three-hour phases
as fresh faces demand answers once more.

Then a doctor declares me well,
says take this man back to his cell
He’s lucky this one, the sonuvagun
For his lawyer has gotten him sprung.

My guards seem happier than I for me,
a backslapping show of camaraderie.
But I forget what it means to be free.
Faded are the faces of those I adored
erased by a wave on the waterboard.

Mixed in my mind are winter, prison, and war
snowballs and grenades, missiles and sleighs.
The snow-white hue of Faysal’s dead face,
blood-angel shapes on a lime-green floor.

An unmarked jet now carries me back
I appear in one piece, but mercy I lack,
I left it at Gitmo, along with my honor.
When I alight, I’ll seek guns and armor
Thanks to America, I’m no longer a farmer.

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