Pagosa Springs Artists

Behind Prison Walls


   You seemed preoccupied and nervous when we met
   for lunch that autumn workday. I reminded you
   how good life was now, with decent jobs for you
   and Janice, two kids in good health and doing well
   in school, a comfortable church community that
   honored your musical ability, and back from a recent
   vacation to the beach. You sat nonplussed, unbelieving.
   Now I know; you were already behind prison walls.

   When the family had Thanksgiving, unknown to us
   you were beaten down with temptation, already
   behind prison walls because you were toying
   with a new affair, another forbidden relationship.
   With breaking your probation. With infidelity,
   abandonment of your wife and kids, on your way
   to the penitentiary.
   When we visited you on Christmas, you allowed
   no discussion of the girl downstairs that Janice
   brought up with worry in her voice. Our own
   looks of warning bounced off the high stone wall
   of your denial. Until you would be ready to change,
   ready to take responsibility for your actions, Mike,
   you remained locked in your interior prison.




first published in BEHIND PRISON WALLS Chapbook

©2011 Bonnie Manion


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