By Damian Robin

On a night-lit street, an empty pizza box
Staggers against a wall like thrown-off knickers.
Its flat and grey insides have darker shapes of grey,
Tagged serrated cheese, and snagged tomato skin.

Ugly, like the marks on tortured people’s skin.
Or awkward stories you may read from day to day.
Just like the ones of Falun Gong practitioners
Sliced, incinerated, constant organ stocks.

One who leaves her cell (her cage/her bars/her locks)
Is free to pick up life, live on from these affairs.
But not the same. She feels she’s signed her soul away.
She’s tortured in her mind because she’d “given in,”

An inked denunciation, signed as black as sin,
To say she’d dropped her true belief – just to say –
Just to stop the torture, just to climb the stairs
From shaming, bricked-up past to future walls of rocks.


Damian Robin is a poet who lives in the UK.

Note: Falun Gong is a peaceful spiritual practice persecuted in China. Practitioners of Falun Gong have been killed to have their organs harvested for transplant, hence “organ stocks.”

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