Amnesia of the Asylum-seeker
by Leah Fleetwood
Who we were back then, it’s hard to recall:
lawyers, actors, fruit-sellers at a stall;
street-singers, clerics, or newssheet writers?
How were we seen – kowtowers or fighters?
Your need to process us is fair and no surprise –
to thresh the facts from what you think are lies.
But, officers, listen! The journey changed us all.
Be not offended that your forms remain so blank.
Imagine, if you will, how such data ... sank:
in tsunamis of grief and of mortar,
torture, erased ID, and salt water.
We come before you free of social mask.
A chance, a chance is all we ask:
to bring to light our talents – not our rank.