Photo by Ergita Sela on Unsplash

There’s a garden in my cell and a warning
sign on my cell door to keep people away.

Long sunflowers and orchids gives an
aesthetic look to my cell.
An American flag is scattered behind
the abundance of sunflowers.
I will live in the cell for the rest of my 297
year sentence;
a tranquil brook runs through my cell.

Officers leave my meals on the door slot on
a paper tray with caution.
Hummingbirds and bees keep me company
A red sign with Spanish wording peligro
warns them from my cell door.

The moon at night gets near my window
with stars that are tenor.
When I elevate my hands to heaven
and worship, sparrows join me with melody.
Leafs from sunflowers wrap around the
warning sign.

Even though I was condemned 18 years
ago when I was 26 years old my mother
see me as her boy.
Colorful butterflies surround me when I
sit on my bunk and weep from sorrow.
My reflection in the mirror is of a precious
son of God.
The sign with peligro letterings is decorated
in orchids.

Officers come to my cell with long guns and
shackles to tie me
when I go to the cage to get sunshine.
I write touching letters to my family but they
arrive with danger and peligro stamped on the
middle of the envelope.
The warning sign on my cell door doesn’t
keep the garden in my cell from flourishing.

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.

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Arnoldo Juarez

Arnoldo Juarez is an artist incarcerated in California.