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A photo of a girl wearing a baseball shirt on top of pile of old photos
Photo illustration by Teresa Tauchi

These aging photos upon my desk
Bring so much joy yet cause me stress.
Your tiny curls and infectious grin,
How I crave to hold you again.

One year down, now you’re five,
Mail on the floor, new photos inside.
T-ball jersey, hair cut short,
Can’t believe I missed your first sport.

Two years later, new photos received,
Gazing at a child who looks just like me.
Pain in my chest, now yearning for home,
In disbelief how my baby has grown.

Your voice on the phone just brightens my world,
Saying “I love daddy,” I love you baby girl.
Sixty seconds announces the chime.
I feel 15 minutes is not enough time.

You’re 11 now, that’s six years down,
Walk into my cell, new photos on the ground.
Great big smile, long curly hair,
Your baby picture and now, I cannot compare.

I’m praying that for now our talks will suffice,
The crime I committed wasn’t worth this price.
But until I get out, I’ll do everything I can
To grow as a father and improve as a man.

Options are arriving for me to go home soon,
The opportunity for freedom’s starting to loom.
I can’t wait to hold you, and rest your head to my chest,
To watch you grow in person, not through photos on a desk.

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.

A.D. Hawkins is a Navy veteran and writer incarcerated in California. Everything he currently writes is to broaden the minds and views of all potential readers.