Shadow of a bird on a fence as metaphor for solitary confinement
Photo by Dijana Malbasa on iStock

Looking out the window of my cell
There is nothing but whiteness
There is nothing but whiteness
          because there is a film on the window
Is the film to keep me from seeing out?
Or to keep others from seeing in?

There is a tiny tear at the top of the window
Looking out the tear I see a steel mesh
          fence and razor wire above that
When the sun hits, the fence —
No, a SHADOW of a fence covers the window

A tiny bird lands on the fence
No, a SHADOW of a tiny bird lands on
          the SHADOW of the fence
I watch the bird fly away
I mean, the SHADOW of the bird
          flies away

Is the film on the window to keep me
          from looking out?
Or to keep you from looking in?
It doesn’t matter because it is all just
          a SHADOW of freedom.

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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Douglas Gordon

Douglas Gordon is a writer incarcerated in Massachusetts.