If they flogged me it would be no worse, but I’m a woman so they won’t. They haven’t the guts. Instead, they give me the shirts from the men’s wing and they tell me to wash away the blood and salt and the fluid like custard that seeps from the wounds. And when I can’t clean them, ‘cos there aint nothing can clean that stain, they take away what they call my privileges. Ha. And they march me between the cells, slowly, because they think the words will sting. They strip me and spit on me and throw me in the confinement cell. For my own good, they say. But what’s the use, they say, because no good ever came to a baby farmer like you. Lower than a dog. Shows what they know. Those children was marked before they was ever brought to me. Most before they was born, I reckon. The guards think they’ll break me. But bluestone blocks for dirty lanes or prison walls is all the same. Cobbles and dust; all I’ve ever known.

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