Donna Bamford

On Visiting a Prison in Iran

We stop by the road side,
the leader of our convoy
must go in to pay his respects
to a comrade.
We enter the jail,
I and a Sikh friend,
turbaned, though hair cut
rebelliously short beneath.
It is late at night,
the prison warden
asks me suddenly,
"Do you like De Gaulle?"
"No," I answer.
My Sikh friend
is taken aback
This is not the place to disagree.
The leader of the convoy brings
a crate of apples.
There is much bribery here,
much smuggling.
We say farewell to the prison warden
return to our cars,
tomorrow Teheran,
if the Fates permit