Prison Charades

Spastic roommate dons faux nonchalance

Stuffs coat into laundry bag

Pretends a-washing to go

In spontaneous Friday night fashion


Ginger neighbor, choreographing

Tags along, puts voice to the lie

For audience, speaks the pretence

Words tossed, a threadbard cover

Over tension visibly vibrating

Charging their every move


Roommate, laundry bag laden

Hovers antsy in hallway

Poised to dash out the door

While chattering blithely away


Ginger stands, chapstick applying

As if waiting in line for a phone

Vigilant sentry awaiting the sign

Signal the goods are delivered

Coast is sufficiently clear

For mad contraband dash


Between bathroom entry and exit

Booty from yard was retreived

Spastic roomie and ginger are crowding

Bulging laundry bag into neighboring room

While casting furtive glances

Over shoulder and down halls


Coat unwashed

Laundry bag is returned

Dropped in spastic corner

Ginger directs with nod and glance

Good not now to unload

With silent crocheting audience


Silent witness

She will not acknowledge

Charade scripted for her benefit

Tired plot with amateur acting

The only running entertainment

Playing on her floor tonight.

Starling Show

The flock, dozens strong

Settles en masse

Fluttered to restive pause

Stride and peck muddy ground

Among faux-spring greening grasses

Startled, swirl aloft

In unison winged arcs

With much rustling ado

Circle in feathered choreography

Alight, to start anew

The Hooker

The yarn is steadily pulled

Smoothly and easily unspools, or

Twisted and contorted

Unwinds in mangled tangles.

Singular misplaced tug

Hopelessly knots entirety

In marled snarled rat’s nest

Seemingly beyond repair.


Cautious skillful manuevering

Instead crafts beauty

Converts lone bland strand

To silkily textile

Creates whole fabric

From delicate, flimsy threads


Hook of cold colored steel

Instrument of gorgeous creation

Deceptively simple appearance

Conceals transformative power


Unleashed in practiced wielding

Gives rise to untold patterns

Twirls singly, doubly, trebly

Options grow and multiply

Absent knowledgeable mistress, is

Useless on its own


Swiftly hooking yarn

With fingers deftly gnarled

Crocheter gently coaxes

Colors into life

Nimble twists of wrist

Perform hooked acrobatics

Creative thoughts envisioned

In artful hands take shape


Perhaps, today she is the yarn

Her life a faulty skein

Pilled, discolored and shredded

Tossed aside in a matted heap

Helpless, dust gathering mess

Awaiting a patient de-tangler

To slowly untie her knots


Or, rather, is she now the hook?

Capable of lovely productions

Precise and rhythmic patterns

Wild and careful creations

Absent crucial agency

Talents grievously wasted

Locked away and forgotten

In a cluttered pile of hunk.


Once upon a time

She was a hooker

Creating her own life

With purpose, care and passion

Transmuting raw materials

Into gifts of beauty and love


Once again she must be a hooker

One of infinite patience and skill

Shake dust bunnies away

Strand by strand de-tangle

The mangled mess of her life


From the threads so rescued

She must impose colorful vision

Take up hook with determination

In stitches careful and hoping

Create a well patterned life.

Hope Sung

Nestled amid sun’s setting rays

Blown along on blustery

March gusts misplaced

At January’s tail end

Hidden birds sing evensong

Crystalline melody

Floats note by fluid note

Past her untrained

Clearly yearning ear

Mysterious songster

Sings of hope and beauty

Borne upon the sunset

Alights in her darkness

Propels her onward

Through the dismal night.

Floor Above Hell

In case there were a question

As to her location

Soul-searing proximity

Of hell-fire’s eternal damnation

Early descent from her bunk

Bleary eyed and dark

Toasts her wide awake

Floor scalds her sleepy feet

Pre-dawn blistering

Reminder that

She lives on the floor

Above hell.

Inner Monologue

I saw your pain today

(She thinks maybe she could say)

After delivering a message

Adrupt and pellmell

Pressed into service

En route to be counted


I saw your pain today

Tumbles in her head

Disappointment unwittingly caused

With notice of cancelled pictures

You clearly counted on taking

Before you leave next week


I saw your pain today

This woman whose story

She doesn’t begin to know

Who neither knows hers

Yet they labored elbow to elbow

In sinks of greasy suds


I saw your pain today

As you stuttered and protested

Plans for a momento

Of your prison girlfriend

You may well never see again

Are off-handedly dashed


I saw your pain today

Beneath your gruff and brusque

Streetwise profane bluster

Droppy-drawered swagger

Tough and impenetrable

Scarred exterior


I saw your pain today

Eyes, raw and wounded

As your voice rose, frustrated

Your girlfriend tried to calm you

This woman with whom your bond

Will soon be pulled apart


I saw your pain today

(She knows she cannot say)

Not here where rules defy it

Where toughness is the uniform

We tug on with our “greens”

And never ever shed


I saw your pain today

I’m sorry I intruded

Into a moment more private

Then the kiss I saw

You almost give your girlfriend

As I dashed to the doorway


I saw your pain today

Just right there in that moment

Oh so powerful and human

A sadness that you carry

Into your new beginning

Another gaping wound


I saw your pain today

(She wishes she could say)

Offer just that validation

Acknowledge that conundrum

That others from the “outside”

May never understand


I saw your pain today

I know you didn’t

Mean to show it

I saw your pain today

And in it

I saw mine.