Here souls raged
but now there’s nothing but concrete walls
scratched up with names and dates.
I rub my hand across these gravestones in progress.
There’s a hardness
but where’s the fierceness.
One man watched as bindings slowly
cut through his ankles.
Another slapped his head against a rock like a sack.
Some withered in the corners.
Others were bolted to the wall.
No future and yet, for all my efforts at imagining
myself in their place, the past tells me nothing.
Where is the torture? Where is the agony?
Surely the spirit seared with fury
even as the body slumped.
Couldn’t such anger, such frenzy,
survive the wracked, wrecked, skeletons?
No, this prison block is calm.
Swallows build nests. Mice dig holes.
Tourists saunter through.
At ten bucks a pop, the jailers are absolved.
So feel the cold stone, stroke the rusty metal…
forgive yourself into the bargain.
* * * * *
John Grey is an Australian born poet who works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Poem, Caveat Lector, Prism International and the horror anthology, “What Fears Become”, he has work upcoming in Potomac Review, Hurricane Review and Pinyon. His other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.