The Prisoner

Nothing in this room
becomes clear under the
bright lights.
Computers burn, heating
the air until it
feels like a jungle,
Patches of sweat form on the
Customers or clients or
Work-shy plebs,
Whichever term they’re using
to avoid calling me human
these days.

And then the questions.
Am I legal? Am I looking?
Do I have any skills?
I feel the life drain,
Desperate to leave as much
as I’m desperate for money,
Ritually humiliated as the rest,
The people who came here
like me
for a portion of bread.

I leave with nothing but
Platitudes,
Vague promises,
Shame,
Demands,
Pain.

I am no longer a human,
I am a number, a burden, a loss,
An expense.

jc+

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