As the Dust

You ask

why the sadness.


I would be

as coal

by the infinite

load of the earth


to a single

precious diamond.


But the infernal dust

permits it not.

The most radiant

inner light

could be lost

in one brush

with the wind


carrying this

ungodly mantle.

It creeps

through closed doors

in the dead of night,

I would have you know, 

after you've so diligently


Swept and husked

and cleansed your soul.

You would think

it were a breeze,

imprisoned here

but ah, that breeze

has its designs,


So vulgarly obvious

weaving dastardly tales

with the dry devilish dirt.

With wet cloth

we keep on wiping,

trying desperately


To put some sheen

into our dulled lives,

but they would not

permit it.

Cowardly they creep in

with their petty intrigues



To envelop and mummify

rendering us

friendless and forgotten.

Yes, they would have me

roll in the dust

the better to bit it.

So you asked:


As the dust, I say,

so my interminable sadness.




Nota Bene

This poem, along with five of my prison poems, was published in Wall Tappings: An International Anthology of Women’s Prison Writings, 200 to the Present.  2nd ed. Judith A. Scheffler, ed.  New York:  The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2002, pp. 22-27.




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