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Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

Almost everything I own right now lies at my big long feet,
locked behind these solid walls made of blocked concrete. 
Heavy ass door made of old school iron,
you can kick it all day, it ain’t tirin’.

This has got to be the smallest place I’ve ever, ever been —
I don’t recall being this crammed since God knows when.
No one hears a simple, “Hello,” yet the biggest scream you got
is what it takes to get their attention as you lie awake and rot!

Styrofoam is how they feed; I have cups stacked everywhere.
I only ate two hours ago, yet still my stomach is bare. 
Reaching out, touching wall-to-wall is proof for a future fact:
Once they let me out of here, I won’t be coming back. 
There’s a hallway that’s in front of me lit up like a star,
but the lock in the middle of this stupid door says my fame won’t go too far!
The narrow window they have in here has bars and fencing, too —
even if you wanted to slip outta here, there’s nothing you could do. 
The funniest thing that I’ve seen thus far is a little mirror that sits alone,
They put a fancy frame around it to make us feel at home. 
Well, I bought my own, yes indeed, and it cost three dollars too.
I can stick it to any metal I want, and it’s got a better view. 
I won’t describe the steel commode or the button to make it flush,
have strayed away from the nastier things and kept them at a hush.
But now you have a little taste of the place where I’ve been for weeks —
Oh did I forget to mention the sink, and the way it tends to leak?

They call it segregation — the degradation! — or “The Hole,”
It’s the place where you pay your penalty,
where you may just lose your soul.

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.

Rob Seidelman

Rob Seidelman is a writer incarcerated in West Virginia.