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A sun rises over the horizon with a viewfinder in the foreground
Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

No one knows exactly how it happens
How it all turns so ugly
Unreliable inner maps, defunded characters, broken human contracts from broken homes where only the broken thrive

We become the archetypes martyred to the dark
The wounds fall upward from the roots covering us in the detritus of crisis, mocking emotions, ifs
But we are not lost. Darkness tells a story of winning, another desperate fiction
We are situationists, anchored only by our unmastered hearts!

Reclaim your disowned brilliance, claw your way out of the chasm of cruelty’s gravity
Break through — affirm the surface as your obvious birthright
Come defiantly out of the shadowy past, it doesn’t keep its promise
Denounce the hypocrisy of the midnights, its suffering isn’t ours to keep
Take back your life. Glow like thirty-four hundred suns
Blink seven times. Let your eyes adjust
After all, you’ve never studied the language of restoration

Now. Do you see your future self?
Shine your way to him every day.

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.

Dennis Jefferson Jr. doesn’t think of himself as a writer, but one who respects the power of words. He participates in charity drives, volunteer work and self-help groups, and he holds an associate degree in general studies. He is incarcerated in California.