Socks hang on a clothesline in anticipation of another Christmas in prison
Photo by isabeltp on iStock

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the prison,
Not a prisoner was stirring, just paying for old decisions.
Mended socks hung on clotheslines for those who’d dare,
In hopes they’d dry in the artificial air.
The inmates were restless, still locked in their beds,
As visions of freedom danced in their heads.
Each in their brown shirts and state-issued briefs,
Some making promises, changing for keeps.
While I, on the other hand, unable to sleep,
Sent another submission to PJP.
When out on the upper tier, there arose such a clatter,
I set down my tablet to see what was the matter.
The shift corrections officer, unlively and thick,
I thought for a second, “Is that St. Nick?”
While most were asleep throughout the compound,
Just another night for those in prison browns,
COs and a sergeant made sure all were secure in their keep.
Better for all, them not hearing a peep.
Pepper spray and handcuffs at ready did abound
In plain sight as the officers did their rounds.
Along the top tier now, some changing their pace,
Their minds could wander as the count they did take.
The count lights came on, signaling the day.
Excited in His Love, to my Lord I did pray.
Standing to our feet, many without cheer,
I was hoping others can be free, despite being here.
I exclaimed in joy as the guards changed their shift,
“Merry Christmas to all! We’ve been given a gift.”

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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Jeffrey Shockley

Jeffrey Shockley is a writer incarcerated in Pennsylvania.