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Photo by  Rowan Heuvel  on  Unsplash
Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

A long time ago 
Before we met
Came a mistake
Dragging me to this moment 
Emptying me beyond bars 

Free me

Going forward in years
Health declining
Inside the walls that don’t care 
Justice is not served 
Keeping me frozen instead

Love me 

My time slithers by 
Neither slow nor fast 
Only constant, cursing, cutting
Pressing against me
Quickly eating me alive 

Release me 

See me

Truthfully I must say
Ugliness suffocates… 
Very harshly every moment 
Wearing me down
Executing me
You chain me 
Zip my mouth shut

Anger within me 
Builds up as I scream but
Can make no noise 
Deafness swallows me 
Empties my existence 

Free me

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Heather D’Aoust is a nonbinary writer, artist and author of two books, who also publishes under the pen name Jeff-Free. A practicing Buddhist, D'Aoust is incarcerated in California.