Susan Spillman

Love Letters, Lovett, TX

The cell unlocked his secret guilt too late
for the other guy, convicted, screaming, Innocent!
I didn’t do
—For years he heard those words

trespass through prison walls too thin, confess.
He waited, finished serving back to backs,
then signed his letter, rapist, licked the stamp.


Nobody answers claims of ex-cons,
but mothers, never emptied, open, read
the papers, sift hate like stones, unearth

the double helix, proof, his envelope
spilling its red dust like poison trebling
his microscopic signature, vomiting

her boy’s life, buried ashes not one day
old, rage. An eye for an eye won’t save
her Jim, small comfort, heaven over limbo,

and him, out free, the statute run. She tears
the lines to shreds, his I’m so sorry ma’am,
the girl’s mistake, the sheriff’s we regret.


Susan Spillman: Bio

Susan Spillman: Artist Statement

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