Dona Samson Zappone
Dona was born in Malaysia of Sri Lankan parents. She migrated to Australia in 1981. Her work has appeared in Poetry Without Borders, Sun and Sleet Zinewest, Reunion WEA Poetry Project, Auburn Letters Zinewest, She has exhibited her artworks and design, and has a short film and a play to her credit.
Muddy River (Malaysia)
api-api: fireflies sampan: canoe
a ragged group of refugees
stood on a high roof waving a white sheet, like a flag-
‘freedom, freedom!’ they chanted in Persian, Dari, Urdu
Pashto an Africaan, in Indonesian and Vietnamese
some wrenched the metal bars apart
others threw blankets over the razor sharp fences,
they climbed and squeezed through
to jump and hurl themselves into the crowd and run
from the arms of the waiting police
sewing their lips in protest
on hunger strikes for several days
queue jumpers, illegals, rejectees,
they were herded like animals
easier controlled and forgotten
they were locked away, questioned, watched and punished
long months of being detained inside this barred prison
it had taken its toll
brave, desperate, lucky?
they risked all to find freedom
now stateless without a future
did they have a right for their freedom?
just because they spoke in tongues
did they have to be locked up like criminals?
there were women, children, young and old
waiting for release from a nightmare called
‘W o o m e r a’