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Photo by Henry Ravenscroft on Unsplash

I sit here at the window
in my blue plastic chair
and catch soft snowflakes with my eye
before they melt into water droplets.

The hours drag at a sloth’s rhythm,
and I remember what I miss.
I see memories like stacked photographs
rifled by my thumb.

They come alive with the sound of birds
fighting the morning chill and call to one another
as the smell of pinewood smoke wisps from
a cream-colored ranch house.

I stand on the rim of a creek bed
listening to water trickle over polished rocks
and watch soggy leaves in thin sheets of ice
bob and pinball downstream.

Not a single footprint
but my own, walking along the bank
in shin-deep white powder
that crunches beneath my wet shoes.

Grasping my burning ears with the palms of my hands,
I feel my fingers throb, numb.
I breathe on them for warmth,
and my toes begin to tingle.

Looking up, I notice the surrounding mountains’
clouds kiss the spruce tree tops,
but down in the canyon,
sycamore skeletons shiver in the cold.

With the sound of splashing static;
the peaceful cracking
of sagging snow-covered branches
breaks the silence of early January.

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.

Chastyn “Nova” Hicks is a writer and artist incarcerated in Arizona.