May I live this moment for you?

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.

Henry David Thoreau

Can I pick that flower you so tenderly grew?
Name it ‘freedom’ and replant it by the prison gates?
May I borrow your ink and pen a verse or two?
And narrate that unfinished story for you?

That child out there with vacant eyes…can I pick her up?
And tell her all the things you wanted to…
Can I shower her with love so tender?
And instil in her your convictions unshakable…
May I tell her that this was not meant to be?

Can I borrow your voice for a moment?
And tell the world what the promise was…
That which nineteen-year-old boys grew old holding on to
May I grab hold of a compatriot’s shoulders with your hands?
And shake it until they wake up and remember…what the dream was

May I pat the shoulders of that comrade you left behind?
And encourage him that it is not over yet…? 
May I call him by the nicknames you came up with?
May I resuscitate his jovial smile?
And make this valley echo with laughter… once more

Can I wipe the tears off your mother’s eyes?
And tell your children that you don’t regret your life a bit?
May I gather your siblings and tell them it was well worth it?
Can I trumpet your deeds? Shall I tell the world all that you achieved? 

Can I finish that poem you were writing?
Could I perhaps sing the song you were humming?
I will soon retrace the route and start where you left off
…But right now all I want to do is live this moment for you…

Selam Kidane
Dedicated to all prisoners of conscience in Eritrea