(4.11) Pegasus

In the body of a prison, kite

takes on new meaning.

It is no longer what you do

with your son come Saturday,

just the two of you, y’all special

thing. Now it’s the way men

meet, bum squares, survive

when a face is only known

in memory. Last summer a kite

 

broke through the cement walls

that keep us. Men across

the country, stopped taking food

together, wasted away quicker,

died, for the company of an outside

world. Family remembered us

for a moment, but rescue

is only a word for kittens in trees,

little girls with emerald eyes, fire

 

for hair. In the belly of a prison

we only get sixty minutes out

of our cage every day. Alone

and sunlight is a fever to think

about. Nothing soothing in a group

of minutes, the counting down

of bars, pretending freedom.

Freeing up your mind is a gamble

with insanity when your scenery

is all rot, and flight is a piece of soaked

and hung-dry two-ply,

 

origami’d into hope. You get adept

at moving things around you can’t

touch anymore—football-shaped

rips of paper, your last piece

of pussy in a photo on the wall,

your son running over sand

in your dreams, his hand squeezing

 

ribbon and string. In the prison

of a body you will lose it. Only hunger,

only a self you ran from

on the outside, heat and grief

and stretches of time. Mercy

is the name of death,

and you don’t meet her

fishing a kite around a corner.

Here, it’s best to find a spot

outside your mind, keep it busy

counting reps or away

in another person’s story. This poet

 

I found on the rack of books

last week. He spoke of death

as luck, before he let his wrists

out in the mouth of an ocean,

on the tongue of a beach,

where children raced diamonds

whipping through the sky, Boys burst

from the raised loins, he wrote.

And I saw it, how I dream of us leaving

this place, where our skin is broken

 

law. The way out

of an imprisoned body, can be

recognized by the spill of light

starting to peel open, the gate

of a penitentiary coming up.

Every man touched by sun

and fire could burst from brick

like this, not another brown wrist

would know the cypher of steel

once it lay open, coughing up

 

its own mumbled name.

It would be something to see:

raised kites jerking, string taut,

the heart with something to do.

Tears finally leaving men, men

finally leaving behind the steel,

the body

 

the ground.

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