It’s national poetry month, and Martha, whoever she is, has been sending me a poem each morning. I like her selections. You can probably get these, too. She’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s today’s poem, a reminder to us all, I think.
Cindy Comes To Hear Me Read
Cindy: not her real name. I met her
in prison, and people in prison I give
the fake names. I taught her Shakespeare, remember
her frown, wide eyes, terror of getting
things wrong. Her clear, arguable thesis
on Desdemona’s motives, Desdemona’s past. The last
days were hard on her, it taking visible work
to see things could be worse. Imagine: I did.
But now she’s out! In jewelry and makeup, new
clothes, haircut she chose and paid for. We hugged.
We’d never hugged; it’s not allowed. On the outside
you can hug whoever you want. She told me she has
an apartment now, a window, an ocean view. She has
a car, she told me, and we both cracked up. The thought of it
wild, as farfetched then as when you’re a kid playing
grown-up, playing any kind of house. She has
a job. She drives there in traffic. Each day
she sees the angry people. Sweet, silly people,
mad—God bless them—at traffic. At other cars.
She laughs, she told me, laughs out loud alone
in her car. People around her angry as toddlers. Whole
highways of traffic, everybody at the work of being free.