Line drawing of a group of people with their arms around each other's shoulders.
Line illustration by Tetiana Garkusha on iStock

A love I never had, never thought my older cellie
Would be the one who I call dad.
Never accepted by my sister or my brother,
A missing love came from a prison nurse who made me feel
Like I now have a loving mother.

Never ate at tables with my blood kin,
Never had relatives to check on me, who care,
Family on the streets was just a dream.
Living together with fellow inmates caused us to build a team.
The embraces I experience from inmates and staff
Created a new reality, my real family is the one that I now have.

It’s sad but true, I wish society could see what I see,
I feel more accepted from behind the walls, than I felt
When I was free.
No love, no hugs, none of the above, on the streets
My life was put on pause, and it saddens me that I never
Really had a life until I connected with
The created family from behind the walls.

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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Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones is a writer incarcerated in Virginia.