Today marks four years since the abduction and disappearance of the Syrian dissident and former political prisoner, Samira al-Khalil, along with her friends and colleagues, Razan Zeitouneh, Wael Hamada, and Nazem Hamadi, in Douma, east of Damascus. The four remain missing to this day. The below is a poem dedicated to al-Khalil by the International PEN Award-winning Syrian poet, Faraj Bayrakdar, himself also a former political prisoner. The poem was originally published in Arabic. The artwork for this article was created by Azza Abo Rebieh.

Her voice descends lightly

On the steps of the dungeon, and she is still in pain

In the interrogation room

And I descend lightly

That blanket carried by two

Who go astray

Am I in it or is she?

Her weary voice is revived by what is in my body

My weary body is revived by what is in her voice

How is fire revived?

She was not a condition or a description

But I call her by many names

The echo has wings that flutter around me:

Samira….ra….Samira…ra, Samiraaa

A name does not confine its bearer if so desired

But the place

Confined in the torture rooms of the Palestine Branch

So did it confine her

               Or those women or men, together

The plain of Douma, free, with eyelids defeated?

Her voice comes

I see several doves

As if once upon a time.

Her voice comes

I see several clouds

As if, oh time, Syria, a dream and a people, will live

Oh time, she will live