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Photo by Nils Schirmer on Unsplash

Under the rubble of American justice there I lay.
Doomed to the tombs of where I stay

Processed and politicized, a play imperfect.
Commodified and minimized, invested and made worthless.

Under the towers of trade statutes crumble on my head.
Policies pounding away like steel that forms my bed.

I see the white hats and bucket lines as I peek from beneath the pile
Wondering if ever anyone will again see my once-bright smile.

Under color of law red tape forms limestone layers
A thirteenth amendment slave unfreed by mama’s prayers.

Somebody come for me. I’m pleading out for help.
Am I just another face at the bottom of the well?

Existing in this carceral state, my zip code’s not hard to find.
Reincarnated as property of state, not dead but buried alive.

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.

Aaron M. Kinzer is a writer, poet and spoken word performance artist. His work has been published in the Columbia Journal and In the Belly, the upcoming re-sentencing journal by Tufts University. He has written for DreamCorps Justice for their 2022 National Day of Empathy. Kinzer is incarcerated in Pennsylvania.