Poem: Saying…

Saying hello to you

Even through steel barricades

Even with your face crushed

Your nose broken on the border

Bleeding with the nonchalance

Of a crossfire casualty.


Saying I love you

Even when our arms can’t touch

Even when they are handcuffed.

Heavy keys jumping on hipbone

Mocking our earnest confession

With a jingle selling repentance.


Saying “always” to you

Even when time comes punctuated

Even. Spaces. Between. Clock Ticks.

Blood, tapping veins in the night:

Counting out this mortality

Through organs, flesh, and muscle.

Through the steady drip of water

On the stinking metal toilet bowl.

Through the clang of open hatches

Closed hatches, meals, work, exercise.

Days tallied with notches and chapel.

“Always” makes no sense inside these walls

Time creeps forward into now.


Saying goodbye to you

Even in a set phrase or motion

Even with your back turned;

Our voices like Italian meringue

Crushed under the weight of

A guard’s fork, and eaten quickly.


Saying nothing any more.

Even when they remind me of you

Even when fists find my stomach empty

Only an open mouth, and gagging:

Like a cat caught my tongue and ate it;

My voice flapping limp against its stump.


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