Heidi CoonFrom All-Creatures.org

Animal Rights Poetry and Prose By Heidi Coon

Poems of compassion dedicated to the non-human animals who share this planet with us and the people who fight for them.

Death March
By Heidi Coon

You wake. Your eyes slowly open to reveal the same steel bars that youíve stared at, day after day after dayÖ

Months ago, in a frustrated fugue, you flailed yourself wildly around your cell. Screaming, kicking, lost in isolation, desperation and helplessness. Youíd thought youíd gone completely mad. You even smeared your own shit on the bars of your cell. Your shit, now dried, remains stuck to the steel like barnacles.

You hear the other prisoners moving in their cells, their voices growing louder.

Something is different about today.

You feel a weight, deep inside of you.

You stand up, and walk to the bars, pressing your face against them. You try to see any signs that would discern what is happening. You look around, realizing youíve not eaten yet. Today is the first day that a rough hand hasnít carelessly dropped your meal onto your dirty cell floor.

Itís filthy.

You hate it.

You just want to be clean. You just want a soft bed. Everything here is cold, hard and dirty.

The prison keeps getting louder with the sounds of the prisoners and the guards.

Several men hurry down the long corridor past your cell. Their boots thudding against the barren floor. You peek through the bars to the prisoner to the right of you. He is pacing his cell. His blue eyes are wide and fearful, his mouth open, his breath quick and uneven. He quickly glances at you before his eyes dart back in the direction of a horrible scraping sound of metal on metal. You see two men in dark blue uniforms down the corridor, each unlocking parallel cells. The men swing the cell doors open and your breath catches in your throat as you watch the prisoners freeze, terrified. The two men usher them out, when the prisoners take a tentative step, the guards become forceful, even violent. You feel your heartbeat race faster as you watch the prisoners fleeing their cells.





You swallow hard, wishing you had something to drink, watching as even more cells are unlocked.

More doors are opened.

More prisoners ushered out.

You canít believe your eyes. The door to your cell has never been open, not since youíve been there.

You were incarcerated at a young age, too young to comprehend what was happening or, what you had done wrong.

Itís all just a blur to you, really.

You take a couple steps back as you watch the men now approach your cell. You stare, blinking in disbelief as your cell is unlocked. Your door swings open.

Youíve watched, at least, 30 others before you, so you




You know they want you to hustle. You quickly move your ass out of your cell to join the other prisoners crowding in the corridor.

Everyone is communicating at once.

No one knows what is happening.

The men are behind you now.

You scramble to not be the last in line, trying to push your way further into the group of prisoners.

You take hurried steps.

Bodies are pressing into yours.

Your mind is racing.

You take panicked breaths.

You crane your neck and are able to see a doorway at the end of the corridor.

Forward you are prodded toward the door.

You inhale and the strong smell of bleach fills your nostrils.

Your lungs fill with the thick iron smell of fresh blood.

You sense danger.

The other prisoners are filled with fear.

You all press together so tightly that you become one.

A living mass moving up the narrow stretch toward the door.

One prisoner slips, falling and disappears underneath the group.

You are all frantically moving and seemingly unable to stop.

You try to avoid stepping on him, but youíre so scared that you arenít even sure if he was under you.

Your group reaches the door.

You all pause uncertain of what to do.

One of the uniformed men makes his way past you to the front of the group.

You swallow hard again.

What is beyond the door?

The man turns and quickly grabs one of the prisoners.

You stand helpless as you watch him fighting frantically as he is pulled and dragged.

Horror washes over you and you are compelled to flee.

You turn quickly only to see steel bars behind you now.


The other prisoners are all panicking.

Some look for a way out, while others collapse, overcome with fear, they cry and they shake.

You feel your stomach harden and churn.

You mouth is suddenly filled with saliva.

Your breaths are quick and shallow.

Your bladder loosens and gives out, hot piss runs down your leg.

Another prisoner is grabbed, wrestled and dragged through the door.

You feel weak, your head is spinning, your legs buckle beneath you and your ass hits the ever unyielding floor.

Is this even happening?

Another one dragged.

Another grabbed.

And, another.

Your heart feels like it will explode.

You try to stand as you realize that one of the men is walking toward you.

He grabs at you roughly, you cry out as he pulls you.

Why is this happening?

You feel cold, rough cement scraping your legs as your body is hauled across the floor.

Before you even know whatís happening, you are through the door.

Your look around quickly, nothing is familiar.

You spot some of the prisoners across the room, you quickly run toward them seeking solace.

As you reach them you realize that they are not moving.

They are laying on the floor.

Blood is pooled around them.

You hear footsteps and you cry.

You are so completely helpless.

Another man approaches you, he is holding something in his hand.

You look at it and donít know what it is.

You stomach is somersaulting.

Your body trembles.

The man presses the strange thing against your forehead, itís cold against your skin, and positioned directly above your eyesÖ

Pig slaughterhouse

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