Creature Speak


A Creative Writing Blog

For Those in Cages

I feel like a violator, an impostor here
with my pale skin and privilege
resting on stolen land.

Adobe houses speckle the ground,
as novelties for comfort and class.
Red for the blood they cost to build,
and orange for the dust
of ancestor’s passions.
Yellow for the sun,
respect and reverence
we can never comprehend.

My feet rejoice on tile floors
that feel like Earth, but cleaner.
Cleaner than the cages six hours away
filled with people whose people
lived here before any of us,
before me.

Those who seek asylum and safety
across the border and don’t make it.
Those who are crushed together
like factory farmed animals
barely able to breathe,
writhing in each other’s filth.
Those who suffocate to death.

Those who are aching for their children
torn from them and thrown
in separate cells like calves
taken from their mothers and starved
because it makes the flesh
more tender for veal.
(And we drink their mother’s milk).

Here I am standing on a clean floor
that resembles the ground
but is one degree removed.

Everything living wants to be free.
We are the only predator that keeps
captives for fun.

Some animals play with their prey
and some insects keep stock.
Some spiders have the courtesy
to inflict a sleep upon those
stuck in their webs,
wrapped softly in silk,

And domesticated felines,
who like killing more than food
because it is in their nature
to hunt and chase,
have the decency to steal
the life from their toys.

But humans are a special kind
of creature.
We cage the biggest predators
and the greatest hunters,
not because they are a threat to us,
but because we like to look
at what we catch.
We keep them alive
for the sight of them and for
the reminder that we are
still in charge.

We are conquerors who take
what we want and create prisons
for those who ask us to share.
Prisons for those
who came before us,
for those
who were here first.

We dance on their fingerprints,
on the lands cultivated
by their hands and their people’s
before them,
on their ancestor’s graves.

I hear whispers on the strong winds
blowing dust and debris in my face
as if to say,
“You may not see us
but we are still here.”

We trample spirits who know
what it all means: all these
colors and structures
beyond decoration.

Spirits who know
the land is alive with more
than we are permitted to see.
Who know all these
unique plants that seem
like mere grasses and shrubs
but are secretly playing
and singing behind your back.

Who know the meaning
of sunlight, rising and falling,
and the special twilight at sunset
beyond mere atmosphere.

We trample the spirits
and don’t notice the trail
of opalescent lights shining
upon the desert ground
even in the wreckage
of our footprints,
sparkling just enough
for the hope that we will see it,
as if they believe in us.

As if, though it is natural
for a creature to enjoy
it’s own nature,
and we are a consumptive
species who revels in the skin
between our teeth
and rejoices in the squirming
and flailing of our captives,
they know some of us will fall
out of step with the herd,
noticing a twinkle in the veil,
something moving on the path.

As if the spirits are always
waiting for those who fall behind
to see them, to listen.

I see a different light and I stop.
I hear a new sound on the winds now:
the cries of the people
who belong here in my place.

I fall behind the herd
for all those in cages.

Copyright © 2019, Sheiora Danu

A flight of butterflies surrounding the caged ones
Art: A flight of butterflies surrounding the caged ones (artist unknown)

2 responses to “For Those in Cages”

  1. One of the very best. Excellent prose, confesses vivid imagery, excellent critique on today’s world. In short has everything that a true poem must. Keep it up!!!


    1. Wow! It took a couple of days of pure focus to compose this because the content is so difficult and important. I was really hoping I was able to convey what needed to come through. I’m very relieved to hear that it was effective. Thank you so much!


About Me

I wrote my first story when I was a wee girl of three, followed by my first poem when I was eight. I’ve been writing ever since as a way to cope with life. This practice evolved with learning in both structured settings and through the practice, itself. In my own healing crisis, I found a process I affectionately refer to as Poetic Alchemy. Now on the journey of getting my life back, I do this not only for myself but for you.

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