In Prison

In prison
without being accused

or reach your family
or have a family            You have

conscience
heart trouble

asthma
manic-depressive

(we lost the baby)
no meds

no one
no window

black water
nail-scratched walls

your pure face turned away
embarrassed

you
who the earth was for.

Jean Valentine, “In Prison,” from The New Yorker (May 27, 2007). Used by permission of the author.
Source: The New Yorker (Unpublished Collection, 2007)
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