cruel chains

cruel chains bound my hands and feet

inflicting shame and painful scars

just a child of fourteen

when marched down rows of prison bars

 

catcalls, spit, and brutal grins

ingrained in all my dreams for years

unfit punishment it was

for stealing useless stuff from Sears

 

so said the Judge, who heard my cries

and though it came too late for me

he issued orders to the jail

that later set my brother free

 

the distant memories of my steps

through that gauntlet of the damned

were fresh upon my mind the day

my brother’s fateful deed was planned

 

a friend of ours with friends of his

(all having walked that gauntlet too)

set out to do a robbery

and offered us each parts to do

 

two brothers, I insist we were

alike in nearly every way

misguided, yes, but outlaws, no

remembered different paths that day

 

cruel chains bound my hands and feet

my brother suffered not such scars

but now a child of eighteen

begins a life confined by bars

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