Prima Facie

Huddled in the corner
where only a creak of light
cast a thin line ’cross his back.
Belief’s blackness pressed into his sympathy
like a fire-heated symbol meant for permanence,
meant for slavery.
Ears marked with indoctrination
and freedom castrated by abstinence,
his hands ached for resolution, for reason,
for something to clean the char
from beneath his fingernails.
His voice strained with the rasp
of each unanswered question
and his teeth bent with the burden
as his tongue tore away at vision.
He saw the brand waiting in the flame.
He saw the labels that it made.
It took him years to leave his religion.

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