Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Prison Tourist

The Prison Tourist
You list your past sins in your head as you listen
to the ghosting of passed sinners:  Where
the prisoner burned, no paint covers,
no tool erases.  You imagine him still alive—one
with mirrors for eyes, a machine
of hours, stamping them around
the clock until he’d made more than anyone
could stand, until time like shackles
clattered through ammoniac halls.  The others
would learn that the fear of days to come exceeds
the endless crime of remembrance.
You are with the long-gone crowd: the hours must be stopped.
He slipped into the cross hairs of a hot summer,
the popular target.  Fire piled up towards the outside,
and even though few knew his name, they recalled the
carbon smoke of time killed.

Jessica Walsh is a writer and teacher in suburban Chicago, where she lives with her partner, her kick-ass 3-year-old daughter Stella, and the world's laziest dog.  Her first chapbook, Knocked Around, was published by Pudding House Press in 2008.  Her work has appeared in several literary journals, both print and online. 

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