Photo illustration by Teresa Tauchi

We exit the dorm in a line
Little furry creatures walking up behind
Maybe ten or more, I lose the numbers
They are at maintenance more than plumbers
If you have food in your hand, they will come
A chicken bone or turkey ham, they want some
You can call them by their names
Eating from people’s hands is like fun and games
Everywhere you go on Kirkland yard, the cats are there
Even at the cafeteria, with terrible food, they don’t care
Waiting on breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Maybe thirty cats or more, trying to be a winner
At the annex, in from of F-2 lying on mats
All together maybe three hundred cats
Some of them are like movie stars
They will eat out of cans or jars
Cats get treated better than inmates
Some staff will feed them on paper plates
Charlie, Blackie, and Tripod 
These are the cat’s names and is where I start
I’ve seen a cat that shakes when he walks
If you go into operations, it’s one cat that talks
Kirkland cats are in full command
They roll in packs, just like a band
Meow, meow, or maybe a moan
They will hustle you, when you take them home

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Michael Eggleston

Michael Eggleston is a poet at Allendale Correctional Institution in South Carolina. He has completed his GED and holds an associate degree. He is also working on a second associate degree in business. He is serving a life sentence for murder.