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Photo by Debby Urken on Unsplash.

I watch my people
Whom I don’t know
But know I am one of
Come in lines of gray
Like cinder blocks on a wall
Effaced by time and circumstance.
I watch as my people
Of corn, of earth, and blood
And love
Become this unpeople
Of gray and sunken cheeks
And empty stares
That crave only the oblivion
Of the next dose of poison.
I watch
And I weep
As I see that their souls
Have escaped and left their bodies
Wandering like forlorn spirits
Like stomachs with legs
Like men without names
Without even the memory of a name
Or a father
Or a past
Or a hope.

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.

Cesar Suarez is a writer and poet incarcerated in California.