Thursday, October 13, 2022
From the Prison Writing Project

Press 1 for English


3 for all else

this call

at no expense to you


from an inmate in an Iowa prison.


The cost of this call

(for him)

will be 25 cents for the first 2 minutes

with a maximum charge

of 2 dollars and 10 cents.


To wives and lovers, sisters and mothers:

you may choose to put him through

hang up now to refuse

or press 9 to block his calls forever.





3 am 1st night

in my prison cell

I pace if off:

8 steps long by 4 steps wide


The light inside always on


Through the 5’ high

by 6” wide

slit window

bright loops of razor wire

atop the chain-link fence


glitter in the moonlight


Beyond : Darkness


Mother, what have I done?


For My Chinese Wife: English Lesson from Prison




Dove wren sparrow––heron duck goose––owl hawk eagle

Doe fawn horse rabbit––squirrel ferret otter beaver––bat cat dog wolf––bear tiger dolphin

jump skip gallop scamper––leap scurry dive paddle––lumber chase race

peep chirp coo quack––honk hoot squeak cry––squeak purr bark howl––growl roar click


white is the dove

green the grass

gray the goose

black the soil

red the cardinal


Blue is the sky

dark the night

silver the moon

bright the stars

high the clouds

soft the rain

deep the snow

warm the sun


You me we us

yours mine ours

I’ll be home again soon

yǒngyuǎn de yǒngyuǎn

forever in always