Maxine Beneba Clarke
Jacqui’s law

they say the people’s senator

        from tasmania

has the deciding medevac bill repeal vote


so, quite simply, we are asking:

                     does senator jacqui lambie know


that hamid khazaei

     died from compounding errors


the coroner’s report said


in detention, on manus island,

          it was just a minor infection


                     does she know


immigration delayed his transfer

         and then the leg wound went septic


                     let jacqui lambie know


that hamid khazaei

was twenty-four years old


                     when he was killed

by a state he came to

   for help, and safe harbour,

         and maybe even

a home


in photographs,

          his eyes are as deep

as where the gulf of aden

                greets the arabian sea


and the aching amber hue

    of falling

       autumn leaves


                     does jacqui lambie know


how omid masoumali,

      who only sought asylum,

            lit flame to his own flesh


                     has she heard


that sometimes it’s hard

               to tell the difference


between a voting hand

        and the smell of death


                     tell her


omid masoumali needed painkillers    

            and an urgent flight


that it was all preventable


and after he died,

          the inquest described

his wounds

   as survivable



the death count is up


               in the australian border camps

on nauru, and manus island


and i don’t mean to press

          but the people need to know


      how will history speak of jacqui lambie:


                             which way does she intend

                                                                                          to vote

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

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