Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Prisoners, by Robert Hayden

Steel doors – guillotine gates – of the doorless house closed massively. We were locked in with loss. Guards frisked us, marked our wrists, then let us into the drab Rec Hall – splotched green walls, high windows barred – where the dispossessed awaited us. Hands intimate with knife and pistol, hands that had cruelly grasped and throttled clasped ours in welcome. I sensed the plea of men denied: Believe us human like yourselves, who but for Grace ... We shared reprieving Hidden Words revealed by the Godlike imprisoned One, whose crime was truth. And I read poems I hoped were true. It's like you been there, brother, been there, the scarred young lifer said.

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