Parole Finally

After 20 years of being balled up
bolted to a bunk, back arched
sunken, shriveled, hollow old-man eyes

A trustee comes to your cell with the parole papers
tied to the end of a stick. He points at you
waves them in front of the barred door like a pennant

You peel from the bunk, shirt sheds from your shoulders
pants crack loose from your thighs. You flap your elbows
flex your chest out into the air all the way out the door

The first thing you see is a flower, snared in a wire fence
caught like a butterfly in a web. You sniff its petals
blow on them, touch them cautiously like they are hot

You shake down from up your sleeve
a glass and a sponge, wipe up the flower’s shadow
wring out the sunlight into the glass



This poem is from Pangyrus’s poetry collection, What Tells You Ripeness: Black Poets on Nature, Edited by Nikki Wallschlaeger (available in our store).

Image: 0808A11 by Brock Roseberry, licensed under CC 2.0.

J. Stephen Whitney
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