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A barred window on a red brick wall
Photo by Atharva Patil on Unsplash

The clock strikes five
And the morning’s first alarm
Test blares defiantly against the still silence.

For a brief moment of time,
I feel a sense of excitement
As I know a new day has just begun.

That moment is short lived though,
As the alarm dies and reality comes
Crashing down on me once again

From down the tier
I can hear the CO’s keys begin to
Unlock the tray slots to our cells,
Which can only mean one thing:
There will be no program today.

That excitement turns to dread
For I know that the next twenty-four hours
Will be spent wastefully locked down
In my concrete cage.

Still, I try to stay optimistic
By reminding myself the same thing
That I have told myself so many times before,
Maybe tomorrow.

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.

James A. Holmes is a writer incarcerated in California.