When we arrived
at the prison
for the poetry reading,
they took our shoelaces.
But they gave them back.
after the reading. Something about
weaponizing shoelaces. Nothing
about weaponizing poetry.
An inmate played the violin
as we filed in and took our seats,
then one by one we read our poems
to the inmates and the inmates
read their poems to us. You could
tell the guards didn’t like poetry.
The poetry was a kind of
punishment for the guards,
a kind of escape for the inmates
who walked right out of there
in the poems, barefoot and twirling
the shoelaces, skipping and holding hands
with the guards, telling the truth,
not the whole truth but
lots of little tricky emotional truths
which you can only