Behind the Wall features submissions from our relatives incarcerated inside the criminal justice system. This poem is from Leanne Henderson, a member of the Stride Program for restorative justice at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley, Manitoba.

I feel like a cave, all dark and hollow.
I feel so congested, like life’s too hard to swallow.
I feel like I don’t exist, like I’m not alive.
I claw, and I rage, these feelings I can’t hide.
What am I to become, who am I meant to be?
Look into my eyes, tell me what you see.

Do you see someone lost and destroyed?
Or do you see someone great?
I guess it’s hard to even tell,
with these eyes full of hate.

I think of how to escape, how to flee this life.
Every attempt I made always led back to the pipe.
Can I ever get away from this bond
that is my own demise?
I don’t know this person anymore,
looking back at me with empty eyes.

I became so nonexistent,
that no one wanted to be with me.
Just like my heart, my life is now empty.

If there is light at the end of the tunnel
when will I see it?
I’m sick of being this person
they label as an addict.