Border Traffic: Bashabi Fraser

Bashabi Fraser
The father left even before
The child’s shriek declared
His right to live.

She fell in love with his kicks
Inside her before his little legs
Wrestled with the air.

Her father had been without
Work after a machine ripped
His nimble hands.

Her mother had the house
To nurture, a kitchen
Flame to keep alight.

So she had to find work
And this man in the pub
Could lead her there

Across the border one dark
Frosty night, while her child
Slept unaware

Of her wet face, her
Trembling fingers in his hair
Till she crept away

Her mother’s cheese and bread
Her father’s woven blanket
Her child’s photo

Amongst her choice possessions
As she followed the dream
Of the promised land

With three women friends
In a journey that began
On a high tide

Of nervous hope, in a speeding car
Driven by shadowy men
Across a whispering border.

Where more shadowy men
Hurled them into hotel rooms
With bleeding beds

Which had seen unspeakable
Acts unfold where once
Free women crumpled

Into unrecognizable heaps
Of battered flesh and bone
Their youth shattered

Their daylight stolen
In addresses unknown
Where companions too tired

To comply were shot or knifed
While her gagged mouth
Stifled her screams

Till one unannounced day
An indomitable wave
Of feminist scrutiny

Floodlit her captor’s
Boat where she lay
Handcuffed and muffled

Her son’s face caressing
Her submerged dreams
Her parents beckoning

Her back. The phantasmagoria
Froze as a new wave of power
Released her bonds.

The haven of sheltered
Souls, restored to recognition
And security 

Made heaven seem redundant
As here was the bliss of
Recovered dignity

From where the journey to her
Waiting bairn could begin
With renewed hope.

1 comment :

  1. Such a moving poem ... thank you Bashabi Fraser. A powerful example of how poetry can sensitise us to the plight of others. It should be read by every politician everywhere who has responsibility for human trafficking. The poet gives dignity to its survivors.

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