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Mad Human Disease
by Natasha Canali Wood

How is it
That we can make an animal into a machine
And feel no remorse?
Assign a number to its face
And line it up behind the others
And slaughter it
Without a trace of guilt . . .

How is it
That we can turn a loving mother
Into a baby-producing machine,
Steal her newborns away
And stifle her cries of grief
And say she doesn't know
Doesn't care
Doesn't feel . . .

How can we cram them into boxes and cages,
Let them lie in their own waste
Crippled, swollen, deformed
And shovel them
And drag them
And chain them
Like they're nothing more than broken-down cars
or scraps of garbage . . .

How can we grind up their remains
And feed it to the others--
Watch them take their fill
Of this make-believe grass
Then stumble away sick
While we count our profits
And laugh like nothing else matters . . .

How is it
That we see their gentle eyes,
Sense their gentle souls,
Yet still push it all out
And close the iron doors
And let destiny take its course--
Or at least the destiny we've created for them--
So we can have stomachs
Full of blood and fear and pain . . . The half-dead body
Swinging from the hanger
Welcomes them
One by one--
They bow their heads
And buckle their knees
While the blue sky outside beckons
and the free birds sing.

But all they see-- all they have ever known
Is that one ray of hazy light
That streams in through a crack in the rafters.
Do they feel there must be something more,
Something outside this cold, iron-rusted hell?
Or do they simply go on counting the days
Never dreaming that because of money and greed and gluttony
They were put on this earth
To die--

How is it
That we can start a plague
And blame everything but ourselves
And watch them fall
And try to get up
And fall again
And turn on their cagemates
And turn wild and fierce
And then decide they must be destroyed
yes, just like that, destroyed
So that a whole new generation can take their place
And we can be safe . . .

The sea of bodies goes up in flames . . .
The smoke of death rises black into the sky . . .
And as the putrid stench fills our nostrils,
We experience a fleeting moment
Of what they endured their entire lives . . .

And the animal-machines are at one with the grass and the earth
For the first time.
And then, maybe then,
When the smoke has cleared and the ashes have blown into the wind,
We see that they are not machines,
That they are not stupid beasts
But are victims of our bloody creation
And our savage design . . .

And then we watch the iron doors slam shut once again
And return to feed our sagging stomachs
And go back to our enviable lives
To complain about all the things
That don't need to be complained about . . .

How is it
That we can close our eyes
Maim them
Taunt them
Torture them
Rape them
And justify it all by saying
That they were put on this earth for our use?

How many billions more must suffer
Before we stop to ask:

How is it
That we still haven't found the cure
For this Mad Human Disease?

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