Young Captives, Poetry by Fatimah Islam

Genre: Poltical, Society

Young Captives
by Fatimah Islam

(Days awaiting the Supreme Court Verdict to rule mandatory juvenile life sentencing unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment)

Who are they?
To lock away your light,
Who are you?
To have done what you did,
That wasn’t right.

We all make mistakes,
We all make a difference too,
We all have a light,
Even you.

We all have a fight whether good or bad,
Big or small,
It is within us to contribute to the world.
Even if our first steps made us fall,

Each of us has potential
Each of us can grow
Don’t let them tell you,
Things they don’t even know.
Mama said an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. They can’t prevent so how can they cure?

Who are they to lock away someone’s light?
Even when, you shattered someone’s,
They said it wasn’t right.

Confused kids stuffed in fused boxes,
No way to get out,
No opportunity for change,
No path for remorse,
No actions just more “death of life”, …. of course.

Mistakes happened,
Some weren’t even mistakes,
But are they 100% sure that, not one of you deserves a break.

Who you were then,
Who you are today,
They got your voice in a box.
And won’t let you say.

We don’t have finite knowledge,
We can’t foretell,
Can’t see who’s rehabilitated behind a jail cell.

What if part of social action,
What if part of community growth,
Is to come face to face with what was taken,
And create a retributive oath
What if you’re the one that’s needed to identify change?
What if you can remember?
What was breeded in you, so that a younger you won’t do the same
I ask who’s gonna change,
As were pointing fingers at kids, who can kids blame?

Did we do everything we were supposed to do?
Way before the lifetime jail cell.
“Er’body knew that boy needed help,
Everyone in the neighborhood could tell”.

Ok, let me settle down,

Who was your mentor?
No answer.
Who did you trust?
No answer.
How did you build a plan for your life, when you’re life became too much?
No answer.
Do you still laugh in there?
No answer.
Do you still play?
No answer.
Will they let mama touch you on visiting day?
No answer.

Do you feel loved on thanksgiving, without meddling stories from uncle?
No answer.
Do they let you day dream?
Did they protect you from more violence?
Do they know that you’re more than what you seem?
No answer
Do they know your inner fight?
You know the things that you don’t tell me that keep you up at night?

I know you’re grown now but some things are still the same,
Like do they know that you get a cold easily and need an extra blanket when it rains?

Do they know that your heart still beats for a great romantic love, or fear?
Or that your eyes can’t be re constructed they still hold tear ducts that produce real tears.

But, you were just a kid then,
Who are they to lock away your light?
No answer?…
It’s okay Baby,
I’m here,
I’ll fight!!

    * * * * *

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