“Solitary Confinement” (Robert Walker)

Have you ever been ordered to strip 
Before half a dozen barking eyes
Forcing you against a wall
Ordering you to part your legs and bend over

Have you ever had a door slammed
Locking you out of the world
Propelling you into timeless space
To the emptiness of silence

Have you ever lain on a wooden bed
In regulation pyjamas
And tried to get the bucket to talk
In all seriousness

Have you ever begged for blankets
From an eye staring through a hole in the door
Rubbing at the cold air digging into your flesh
Biting down on your bottom lip, while mouthing
“Please, Sir”

Have you ever heard screams in the middle of 
The night
Or the sobbing of a stir-crazy inmate
Echo over and over again in the darkness
Threatening to draw you into its madness

Have you ever rolled up into a human ball
And prayed for sleep to come
Have you ever lain awake for hours
Waiting for morning to mark yet another day of
Being alone

If you’ve never experienced even one of these
Then bow your head and thank God
For it’s a strange thing indeed –
This rehabilitation system


–Robert Walker, “Solitary Confinement”