For the people of Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago


the bullies made their war base on your island,
kicked you out like cur, killed your dogs

in the furnace where you cooked coconuts
to make copra for oil. they hauled you by boat,

horses above deck, chagossians in cargo,
one suitcase each, one mat to a family,

to mauritius in squalor, tossed aside
like weeds on the docks of port louis

– plucked by storms, high tides, roots
exposed on retreating surf, some died

from chagrin, children, drowning
perhaps in the hope of reaching the shores

of diego garcia by the unifying sea.


that it was illegal to deport you from your birthland
upon whose watery knees you learned songs

is a technicality of history. of men we know,
declared athens, that by a necessary law

of their nature they rule wherever they can.
the barons of war coveted your land.

they disposed of you like dirt.
one does not even despise

what can be shoved aside. the british court
declared it was wrong. by an order

in council the lords tied their own hands,
you were banned, banned from diego garcia.

exile fits the crime they endorse
every day their soldiers toil in paradise.


the forces tidied up for one hundred
chagossians to visit your ancestors’ graves.

a royal navy cameraman recorded a video
souvenir, no room for the media.

but your numbers have grown and memory
flows in the blood of the newly born.

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