Incarcerated 28 years
On the flip side of night, he rises
to a mute morning, the hive
of metal and men, moving
in their papery presence,
tethered to another vanishing day.
His daily routine repeats
in a capsule of dwindling time;
the complaints shake in his
muscles and bones, exiled so long
now he can’t remember his
before life, the once-way
of family, friends, work, and church.
As a child he watched the daylight
perform a nostalgic dance
in his house. Each day, here, he attaches
to the daylight, even if it is anemic
or leaking away, because even then,
it is the closest he can get
to the hands of God.
The nonjudgmental, unconditional love
of daylight as it watches him eat, work,
eat, work, eat, and read.
And at the end of the day,
he thinks patience is a kind of
He cups his hand in front of his face
as the fluorescent lights turn off in the coffin
of his inescapable world.
His breath stammers
yet another trembling prayer.