Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 11, 2011

I have been busy writing poems this month, but have not been so good at posting them here.
Please don't give up on me my friends!!

Here is today's poem. I will try to update my posts this week.

This is a poem I originally posted in April, but have re-worked based on comments I received.


Every Wednesday at four o'clock
the guards come down to the cold gray lobby
of the Correctional Treatment Facility.
Even the afternoon sun
finds no warmth here.

The guards bring the lists of visitors,
names that change from week to week,
but faces that remain the same.

Silent faces
screaming to tell their story.

Pained faces
hiding shame.

Questioning faces
trying to understand
a language not their own.

Anxious faces
hoping this is not the week
their loved one has been moved.

Masked faces
full of bravado.

All guarded.

We are all outsiders
waiting to meet the guards
watching each other gather
listening for our names.

When all have been stripped
of their pride and their shoes,
when every last belonging has been stowed,
when all have been searched,
down to the tiniest diaper,
the guards take their charges upstairs.

Upstairs, where our men -- sons,
cousins, husbands, brothers --
wait anxiously
one to a table.

All faces brighten in this forty-five minutes
where we can all hold hands, laugh
smell the clean of children's hair.

The faces of our quarters and dimes
roll through the snack machine
We pretend that it's a meal
and give thanks.
Perhaps for even five minutes
we can talk ourselves into being
gathered at home.

But in the end, we leave in darkness
exiting through the same lobby
into the quickening night.

Every one of us leaves a piece
of ourselves behind.
Something, perhaps, as intangible
as the reflection of a face
inside the cold panes of glass
surrounding the lobby door.

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