Tag Archives: prison

Officers’ Mess

The floors in the dorms have been waxed, the walls patched and painted. Freshly laid treading in the stairwells still reek of rubber and adhesive. Outside, hedges stand trimmed, windows gleam spotless, and on the rec yard the once threadbare … Continue reading

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Mascots

Before the roadrunner came into our lives there was the skunk, whose feather duster tail could often be seen surfacing from the tall grass behind the library like a periscope. We presumed him male and assigned him familiar vices. Our … Continue reading

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Pageant

A faux fir stands trimmed in silver garland and twinkling lights in the Vocations Department. Crimson poinsettias deck the Food Service Management classroom. Meanwhile in the dormitories the bulletin boards have been lined with shimmering gift wrap, on top of … Continue reading

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Remediation

No one seems able to agree on how the custom of knocking on the mess hall tables got started. Some say the practice began in state prisons where inmates, pressed to eat quickly, exchanged knocks in place of formal pleasantries. … Continue reading

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Comrades

It wasn’t the softly shuddering rain that woke me but the scraping of steel legs on concrete. A leak, cold and black in the dark, had sprung over someone’s bed. Throughout the dorm men pushed their bunks clear of the … Continue reading

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Seasonal Doldrums

Fall has arrived. Mornings have cooled. In the prison parking lot the wind turbine, which had languished all the hot summer long, is spinning once again, slowly, idly, its white metallic petals dipping and fluttering in sympathy with the new … Continue reading

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Artifacts

The national food menu is scheduled to change next month, as it does every fall. The men who’ve been down for a dime still remember the days before a national menu was instituted when it was left to each federal … Continue reading

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