Chicken Scratch


I do not have a name.

I have three friends

To talk to, one behind

And two beside.

They’re the only ones close enough.

We love to chat, but

Sometimes we argue

Because we’re all frustrated

With our boring, painful life.

A floor, a ceiling, two walls,

All made of metal, all bars

Imprisoned simply for being born.

Every day we wonder what they want,

Why they took us as children

Burned and branded our faces

And put us in this cruel place

That smells like waste and death.


My feet hurt.  They always do.

I want to be outside.

I don’t know what’s out there,

But it has to be better.

When they open the doors,

I see something wonderful.

I see green and blue and this

Beautiful glowing,

Not like the dim, dirty, dusty light

That seeps through cracks

And shuttered windows.


I do not have a name.

No one ever gave me a name,

Because no one knows—

No one cares—who I am.

There are people on the outside,

People like you,

People like our wardens.

Though I have only seen a few,

I believe there are more.

Do you on the outside

Know about us in here,

In the dark?

Sometimes, I try to talk

To the wardens,

To give a message to their people

Beg for you to take us

Somewhere better.

If you understood us,

I think you would agree

That this is not fair,

That this is not right.

We do not deserve

What has been done to us.

But no one listens.

I suppose I can



I am are ignored:

I do not know your words.

To you it’s just chicken scratch.


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