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At the Hands of Humans by Nina Lewis

Trusting dark eyes stare out from behind the cage

an expression of insecurity

sorrowful mistrust,

Head bowed,

the human hand persists,

voice soothes as fingers stretch out and repeat

the motions through the small opening.

Minutes later the response is love,

licking the fingers of the hand that saved him,

released him from captivity.

He and eight others are transported

sadness burning in their eyes,

a branding tattoo inside each ear,

A number.

An item.

The first moment outside captivity is

captured on film.

They have never seen the sun

Or clawed the earth

and when their cages are opened they

have no idea what to do.

Wary of life beyond the metal.

Trusting spirits still intact

with encouragement and time

they wander out to explore the world.

The same world that wrote them

a very different life story.