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Exterior of prison yard with building in the background
Photo by powerofforever on iStock

Do they see my home
When they drive by
Is it a mirage
A falsified lie
Or an eyesore
To the ones outside?

It’s dilapidated
Brick and metal
It’s complicated
But we find a way
To make it work
While it falls apart.

It has one hundred bathrooms
With two thousand
Roommates inside
With a lot of food
On the box’s side.

Do they wonder who
Lives in this place?
Or do I fade away
Not even a trace
Of what I’ve become
Only what I was?

I made many mistakes
And I deserve
To be right here
But after eight years
I’m not my mistakes.
Will they hear me?

Will they see me
When I leave my home
Or just a dark smudge
As I walk by?
It frightens me
To think I’m alone.

I’m not what I was
And this place reflects
The old me inside
I was broken, but now
I want to show them
Who lives in this home.

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.

Adam Hotaling is a poet incarcerated in Texas.