The tongue of fog that licks my walls
is not a picture postcard. The crooked
street the tourists grope is the heart
of any inmate. Mine is gently bent
into a maze of wrong music and brick.
Water seeps and cracks mortar, seeks
the lowest level, like worms or trailing
candidates. Shaggy clouds slow dance
into oblivion. The warden’s nose suffers
Burt Lancaster with a twitch but the plot
fades when he’s shipped to The Rock. The cels
of movie fairy tales, the paper gushed
today, had buyers leaping from their chairs:
an animated auction, a forest fire
full of deer, the Beauty topped the Beast,
but priciest of all—the couple waltzing.
Trapped inside a whale or town is nothing
like a girl. Fess up. Call her woman.
And mind or body, call the cage a cage.
I remember loving her, the way prisoners
hate and need their prisons. She’s pregnant
now, the word by phone. The baby’s doing time
I think and do not say: nine months,
some vague possibility of parole.