Cameron Semmens: ‘Body under a sheet’ and ‘Say Her Name’


Body under a sheet

Every morning
for the last month
I have watched my Iranian lover
roll over,
pick up her phone,
and be quietly ripped apart.

Every morning,
I have watched her be torn
from the kissing bliss of motherhood,
wrenched from coddling Aussie suburbia
and thrown violently
into the vicious street-fights and chaotic rioting
of anonymous Iranians filming their desperate,
collective scream for freedom.
Brief, jerky videos on Twitter—
the cinematography of a revolution.

This morning ritual—
a bitter coffee made with curdled milk,
compulsively consumed.

lying there in bed,
she tells me some of the stories—
horror stories.
Her belly becomes bloated with rage
and helplessness.
Atrocities sit in her womb
like dead foetuses.

Such is the pain
of being so far away
when it’s all so close to home.

On the news of another girl
killed in Tehran
(probably thrown from a building)
she pulls the bed sheet over her head—
the parody of a corpse,
or maybe,
a gleaming statue of feminine defiance
preparing to be unveiled.

Cameron Semmens

Say Her Name
On the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran in September 2022.

hair in wind
free of scarf
men in power
crush the flower
stick to skull
skull to wall
girl on floor
blood in brain
say her name
say her name

rose on grave
fire online
slap from hand
rose in cheek
fire in eyes
fire in street
thorn in heart
youth abloom
rose in hand
rise for change
say her name
say her name

tear in eye
blur of lies
tear on tongue
taste of fear
salt in wound
sting of hate
stink of rot
taste the truth
hint of spice
hot on tongue
say her name
say her name

fist in air
hair in wind
knife to curls
hair a flag
truth a flame
girls ablaze
death a spark
birth of new
scarf on fire
burn the ties
burn the lies
say her name
say her name

Mahsa Amini

Cameron Semmens


Leave a Reply