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Illustration by Nate Lindell

A child is born, unknown to it,
powerful persons his life have scrip-
ted, like a game of curling,
have brushed his path, hurling
him through alleys
and cold, uncaring, unnurturing,
felt his soul’s chrysalis form:
society’s indifferent scorn
— for him, the norm.

He grew, as many child will,
even those “nurtured” on swill,
and, somehow, survived.

In his adulthood he said,
to those who looked aghast,
when he spread his wings at last,
“I was the butterfly
whom you made a moth;
it’s you who raised me
to eat your cloth.”

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.

Nate A. Lindell is a writer and artist incarcerated in Wisconsin.