A Cell

Johnny
A metal bunk bed
A mattress and hard pillow
Two lockers and one desk
A toilet and sink
 
A door that is closed
Heat out the vent and it’s hot
I’m sweating, yet it’s cold
A night light on, yet it’s dark
 
A sheet covers me
Yet I want more than a sheet
The floor is cold
Yet I need more than heat
 
A window, but it’s closed
A mirror, but it's fogged
A mind full of thoughts
A heart of love that feels clogged
 
A rush to go, yet I’m here
I say I smile, but it’s a tear
I say I’m relaxed, but I’m tense
I say I’m free, but see a fence

Related Poems

Catechism for the Missing

     “Snow where the horse impresses itself / is solitude, a gallop of grief.” —Miguel Hernández

What use is a language
that lacks a name for hazard?

When wheat brays in an alley.

Where do you go
if you aren’t born
an adoration?

If you start the book
of brutality
you will never finish,

knowing how many
teeth go missing
every year.

A trapped animal
will tell you

how each chrysalis
necessarily entombs

a liberating force.

When water hisses in a barrel.

How many excuses
for the absence
of footprints about the body?

Even the desert
has a language

capable of uncovering
the ontology of the castaway.

Around the ocotillo,
around the narthex and dumpster,

each mouth exhales
a shrine.