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I Wake Up in Middle-of-Night Terror

next to the warm sleeping body of my lover

yet alone in the conviction that I am in a prison cell

shut away, suddenly, from all that makes my life.

I sense the great weight of the prison

pressing down on the little box of room I lie in

alone --- forgotten.

How often do women awake

In the prison of marriage.

of solitary motherhood,

alone and forgotten

of exhaustion from meaningless work,

of self-despising learned early, of advancing age

alone and forgotten.

How many women lie awake at this moment

struggling as I do against despair

knowing the morning will crush us once again

under the futility of our lives.

And how short a step it is

-- for us to the more obvious imprisonment

of bars and concrete

where our sisters lie

alone --- forgotten.

See now, in this middle of night emptiness

how little it matters

whether we wear a convict's ill made cotton dress

or a velvet pantsuit -

We are possessions to be bought and sold,

We are children to be curbed and patronized,

We are bodies to be coveted, seized, and rejected

when our breasts begin to sag.

We are dummies to be laughed at.

I sense the great weight of the society

pressing down on the little box of room I lie in

alone forgotten

like my sisters in prison.

If you hear me


how the bomb of human dignity

could be planted outside your cell

how its explosion could shake

the foundations of our jail

and might burst open the door that separates you

how we might struggle together to be free.

Erika Huggins
Reprinted from: Justice Watch

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