Central California Women’s Facility ~ Steve McDonald

 

A dream of gun towers and razor wire.
I have told you my story as if asleep.
These metal chairs. This gymnasium.
Face to face. Knee to knee.

My story asleep on the concrete floor
as in a dream of burning woods.
Your face, my face. Your knee, my knee.
You deliver your story. Glimpse

of children, a knife, a burning wood.
Eighteen years down, light frozen in time.
You deliver your story. Glimpse of a knife.
You start, begin again, lean forward,

eighteen years of light frozen in time,
a drunken tilt of children adopted away.
You start, begin again, lean forward
as if across a kitchen table, eyes open.

You say, My children adopted away!
Now a fist, a needle, flash of a knife,
the kitchen table gone, your eyes wide:
I deserve this. My victim. Her family.

A needle. Your fist. Flash of a knife.
The sparked voltage of fences.
I deserve this, you say. My victim. Her family.
I listen. My own moral inventory

sparks like the voltage of fences.
These metal chairs, this gymnasium.
I listen. My own moral inventory
as if a dream: gun towers and razor wire.