Poem in an upcoming book titled Growing Flames

Open Letter

I speak for these broken legs

and bleeding skulls lying all over this lawn,

for the street dwellers singing war songs all day,

marching with banners

 that spell death for stone-faced despots.

 

I speak for the women, children, men oppressed

just because they carry no guns.

 

I speak for those seized from their homes after midnight,

beaten to pulp, for pregnant women kicked about in the groin,

left to bleed and die while their toddlers look on.

 

I speak for babies crying for breast milk, their feeble muscles jerking like headless cows

left to die on the floors of the slaughterhouse.

 

I speak for students snatched from their dorms, whisked away to pain stalls, unseen.

 

I speak for professors questioned for hours about things they didnt say, for scientists yanked from their labs with their stained lab coats

in the hands of the police.

 

I speak for you out there with broken limbs and no arm—

you whose left leg and right arm were snatched at a rally,

 

you whose toes secret police chopped at the barracks,

you hiding bloody teeth from a street bystander,

you with handcuffs sitting quietly in the middle of the road, you staring curfew in the face as beer gets warm in the bar,

you kidnapped from a village bar at midnight.

 

A light burns above your head.

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