TOWARNA MATTHEWS

FREE

Bent over backwards on the ground, he waited for the next
Stinging pain to come while he was kicked relentlessly.
Blood ran freely from the deep cuts in his back. He wished
He could be just as free.

The hand that held the switch never relented
Even when it quivered with exhaustion.
He never screamed, just gritted his teeth and dreamt of home:
The tall trees, the open range and the hunt.

His tormentor finally stopped, satisfied that his body resembled
Defrayed meat. That didn’t matter, he would never
Break, never utter the words they wanted to hear, even if
It would end his pain.

His body was left in the open field, crippled, unable to move
As the birds ate their fill. They would never understand
Even through this pain he felt joy — joy that he would still have his pride.
He was a warrior; he would never call a man his master.