The Tortured By Priscilla Galstaun-Khader

From Abu Ghraib
to the shores of Guantanamo Bay
from anonymous black sites
to CAR prisoners locked away.
We are the tortured.

From the black man lying dead on the streets of New York
screaming “I can’t breathe!”
to a twelve year old boy who met a similar end
because of a toy air-soft gun.
We are the tortured.

From internees to the detained
not prisoners of war,
but only “unlawful combatants” remain
from distant lands and close to home.
We are the tortured

From solitary confinements
to extrajudicial killings
the dead are alive in our dreams
while our lives are a nightmare unfolding.
We are the tortured

Be it crossing an arbitrary line
seeking a safer future
or “siding with the enemy”
to reclaim the past to nurture.
We are the tortured

From children sodomized
to adults dehumanized
from mothers who stand by
ripped of dignity and horrified.
We are the tortured

From Communication Management Units
for inventing the terrorist
to Segregated Housing Units
for crushing the individualist.
We are the tortured

Frozen, electrocuted and debased
from society, erased
defiled, drowned and sleep deprived
rendered as the exemplified.
We are the tortured

Separated, suffocated, soiled
and left despoiled
emaciated, emasculated, eviscerated
and forever mutilated.
We are the tortured

Now released from tangible walls
but never free from the lingering thoughts
of a time when days were nights and vice versa
or worse, when there was no visual cursor.
We are the tortured

Spoken of only in hushed tones
but most often omitted
rarely seen or heard from
or if at all.
We are the tortured

While we’re ignored, unrecognized,
redacted and classified
the government that authorizes our fate
is applauded and glorified.
We are the tortured

Not sure what is more painful
our detainment, confinement or debasement
Or perhaps, it is the primary attention
given to our tormentor in his statement.
We are the tortured

Not gone and yet
conveniently forgotten
buried alive while still breathing
hoping for adjudication.
We are the tortured.

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