I came across this excerpt on BOMBsiteBlog. It’s by Idra Novey.

The Little Prison, I, excerpted from The Little Prison

Enter the little prison a comma
And you come out a question mark

Enter in English
And you come out murmuring
The language your great grandmother spoke
To the birds
And that her mother spoke
To the other birds on the other shore

Enter a fish
And come out a conch shell

Enter an apple
And come out the teeth marks
In its yellowed core

Do not enter the little prison

I admire Novey’s words because they describe succinctly the drastic predictability of the experience prison. Life is generally unpredictable, unless it is taken away and controlled. Prison relentlessly beats down on the lives within.

Idra Novey’s first book of poems, The Next Country, was published by Alice James Books in fall 2008.  She teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and in the Bard College Prison Initiative.