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“Prayer of Azariah” by Lawrence OP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The visions of the dead,
Are still in my head.
I lost my friends,
Their tears that I shed.

The pain is still there,
The cross that I bear,
I don’t know where to go,
The thousand mile stare.

Then came some dope,
It gave me false hope,
I went to the ER,
They put down a scope.

I once used to think
That I just needed a drink,
My life passed by,
In what was a blink.

I was filled with strife,
Then murdered my wife,
It hurt so many,
I should have paid with my life.

I will get a second chance,
And take a new stance,
I must prove to the world,
That I’m no longer a nuisance.

The laws of the Constitution,
Brought me to a correctional institution,
Sentenced to 15 years,
But to a lifetime of —
Moral restitution.

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.

Shon Pernice is a contributing writer for PJP. He is a veteran and a Kansas City native who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat medic and came home with traumatic brain injury and PTSD. He has been published in Veterans Voices, The Beat Within and Military Magazine. He is a contributing author to the book, "Helping Ourselves By Helping Others: An Incarcerated Men's Survival Guide." Shon was incarcerated in Missouri.