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Dark, dank, moldy cell

Back of truck, personal hell

human cargo is not the past

still alive, spreading fast

she wakes up, sees the day

wishes she hadn’t

just wanted to play

edge of yard

seemed safe enough

he was friendly

when he drove up

offered her money

to go for a ride

in a blink too late

bad man lied

bag over head

scared of the dark

bumpy old road

the sounds of a park

cries until another

is shoved in with her

sounds younger and screaming

taken from theater

truck moves on

gravel road now

need to get out

don’t know how

panic sets in

already cried

he pulls them out

can’t see a thing

it feels like woods

hearing birds sing

shoved one way

fell to the ground

kicked in another

head spinning round

indoors now

voices of girls

“Shut up! Sit down!”

other girl hurls

air is rank

hot and stifling

holding her breath

comfort is trifling

shackled to a bed

the hood comes off

room full of girls

too scared to cough

bad man leaves

everyone breathes

still scared to talk

all chained, can’t walk

blinds all closed

block out most light

lay on the floor

wait for the night

fitful sleep

full of dread

shackle of lead

keeps foot at bed

man bursts in

startled awake

“You’re coming with me.”

no point in a fight

small hope of free

bag back on head

release not to be

middle class home

similar to hers

hood is off

lights are blurs

Grandpa grabs arm

stains on his shirt

t.v. is blaring

“this won’t hurt”

— so NOT TRUE —

she cries as she waits

for her ride to return

she feels like a whore

and something burns

tears and blood

in the back of the car

bag over head

she weeps as she rides

again cuffed with lead

shoved back in the room

other girls reach out

but no one can reach

to comfort or get out

she remembers her parents

remembers her school

thinks back to that day

“am I a whore or a fool?”

NO, DEAR CHILD

You’re no whore

You’re no fool

You’re an innocent child

Being used like a tool

You bear no blame

though you’ll never be the same

So pull back your hair

breathe and survive

people are hoping

to find you alive

Waiting is awful

humanity growing bare

while we try to persuade

the world just to care.

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