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Illustration by Teresa Tauchi. Photos by Fabian Fauth and Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash.

Extensive stripes of red and white burrow
around my whole body to cover me. Blue
spreads around the contours of my face.
Fifty beaming stars glare over
the earth.
The lamp from the Statue of Liberty I
enthrall with my dominant hand with my
chest elevated proudly to display for the masses.
With a calligraphy pen my soul is inscribed
with the Constitution to parade my amour
for America.
But I shed no blood. You sentenced me
to the Valley of Bones for 297 years. My
heart liquifies in gloom over the draconian
With the same calligraphy pen you
utilized to write the suburban Constitution you
wrote my condemnation.
With your prickly crown and ominous clinch
on your right hand you are granted
commission to ravish me with your sweltering
Stripes of red and blue strangles the
fragile hope within me. In opaque blue
you color me unredeemable. And the
stars with razor sharp blades in circular
action want to shred my existence
from the universe.
I pray for you, America.

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.

Arnoldo Juarez

Arnoldo Juarez is an artist incarcerated in California.