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.