NIGHTMARES OF THE CHAINS
I first sense nausea
as they lock the shackles around my ankles
to ride down heavy on the bones.
Can't step too far or be still too long,
my soft flesh will tear...
I fight tears
when they sling that weighty chain about my waist,
buckle it through handcuffs, clasped too tight.
Can't lift my hands or twist at all...
"Turn around, stand right there,
get moving, keep quiet!"
And the voice of the chains...
I judge the stairs well, my friend,
or I, too, will feel the bite
of gravel on my cheek.
Can't hold my head too high
or I must face the sneer of the guard,
the stare of the child.
Can't hope too hard to escape
the nightmares of the chains,
clashing forever in my dreams,
endless echoes of shame in my soul...
I shall never again despise
a black man's anger,
or turn deaf ears to cries
of a dog, tied too long.
- Name Withheld out of Embarrassment