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Photo illustration by Teresa Tauchi

Razor wire shimmers in a new day’s light. Blackbirds line the shining coils, perched like sentries in waiting.
Distant prison buildings crouch along the ground.

Suddenly birds plunge from bright rolls of wire, swirling in droves around a figure in blue.
A convict emerges from the dark cloud, carrying a colossal load of trash on his back. The man stops long enough to add yet another bag to his stinking burden.

When he shoulders this larger bundle, more birds dive from the razor wire to harass him while he trudges toward my building.
Without warning he stumbles, causing birds to scatter in all directions.

I lean forward to watch more closely, and my head bashes into grimy metal bars blocking the window.
As I rub a growing lump on my head, the man regains his footing and dozens of birds converge on him.

I can hear the birds crying out in anger.
Then together, we begin another day in prison, because the trashman cometh …

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.

Eric Finley is a writer incarcerated in Florida.