“In Shackles”
A Poem by Antony
(Antony is a Cameroonian refugee, seeking asylum here among us, in New Hampshire.  While we cherish his gift for poetry, our hearts break for the violence and oppression he has known.)

Handcuffed and shackles on my feet,

Ties strong enough to break helpless scrap

Guards surround me like dogs around meat

I tremble like an animal caught in a trap

A sorrowful tear would escape my eye

As I am absorbed in deep and silent thoughts.

Within my ribs, a clanking noise so high

My heart beats like a train pounding down the track


They freed me but my freedom they took away

A bracelet tied to my foot keeps watch over me

I am synonymous to a helpless prey

A prey caught in a web just waiting to be eaten

Sometimes friends visit and I forget my troubles

During the visit the electronic bracelet would beep

Sending a chill down my spine and my joy to rubble

Reminding me that I am still detained, and not free


The bracelet speaks to me. It Orders me to surrender

The prey should surrender itself to its predator

How mean and dehumanizing. I feel like an offender

With this bracelet I feel no different from our dog

We have two dogs including me, makes it three

The bracelet beeping and pulling my spirit toward hell

The thought of it always bringing me to my knee

At the sound of the beep I hear a warning knell


When will all of this come to an end?

When will I be changed from dog to human again?

Hopeless and helpless on this perilous path I wend

You may not know the hurt I suffer nor the pain

Hopeless as it may seem, yet I see light ahead

Everyday this bracelet reminds me I am shackled

Yet I fight not to let the thought tear me into shreds

Hoping and praying for help to have me unshackled