I used to be a Correctional Officer

in Bushnell

Prison blues my lips, whispers at night;

she tells me (in third person), “Merry Sadness.”

She addresses me as a cast-off pile of approaches, of beaten down words, as a bore in a prison library closed off, full of asbestos.

She knows me as the edged weapons that pierce, as the bled-out time served for the most savaged of criminal hearts.

She inhabits the fog, herds inmates to chow—pretends that I’m hard, pretends I don’t know the inner makings of her.

She is the melted green toothbrush that splits my blue skin; so, I bleed where I stand, so, I finger-paint her refrain:

(still in

third person)

“Merry Sadness,

James.

Merry-Fucking-Sadness.”

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