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Is time the essence of life? Or is life the essence of time? 

An element hard to define behind the time I spend in the future of past mistakes. 

Mistakes made in a yesterday that never seems to go away as each day of serving a lifetime in time is this replay of everything I did not want to be. 

Yet, here I am. 

Dying in trying to be what others now perceive of me,

Lying in the hope of the day I will be free while all the time watching as society dictates who I am supposed to be.

Yet, here I am. 

Seeking some peace and tranquility amidst this elusive transparency of taking

Responsibility for the life mistakenly set free from all they never had the chance to be because of me.

Yet, here I am. 

How can another discard or disregard the pains they have caused upon the innocent lives that strive to be more than that the fathers have failed to teach? We who line up along the prison walls, talking of everything we never even dreamed to be.

Yet, here I am in this, my reality of adversity because no one deserves to be killed. 

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.

Jeffery Shockley is a writer incarcerated in Pennsylvania.