Placed in a prison cell behind locks
With measured opportunities to see the light
Brought in and announced with loud sirens
Counting down life three times
From my cell to visitation my only trip
Where I hold family and friends in a brief embrace.

No longer free, cell bars all there is to embrace
I’ve found the key within, but it doesn’t fit this lock
Lookin’ back I never shoulda took that second trip.
It just kept callin’ me to it, glowin’ in the light
I took too much time.
Flashes and sirens.

Police dogs and sirens.
With me, bullets almost embracing
No, not yet! It wasn’t quite my time!
Down here in Jasper they cut off my dread locks.
Next Thursday will be my turn to bask in the light
And recall those days of lovers and picnic trips.

Keys fall to the floor; the guard just tripped.
Ringing in my ears, still, from the sirens
Thirty more years till I’ll see the light
Remembering the days when momma and I would embrace.
Oh, how I dread these locks!
Growing stronger with time.

Life times life times life.
Almost time now for that final trip.
Unlock the cell’s lock
Hush, the ringing sirens
Lord, I pray for you to embrace
Me, before I enter your light.

Your holy merciful light.
The chamber door is closing, it’s almost time
For the angels embrace.
I’m taking the final trip
The horns of heaven are my sirens.
I’ve found the key that fits the lock.

Bodies so light, after final trips
Eternal time now, to listen to sirens
And hide in the embrace of the pearly gates and its locks.

By Jessica, 11th grade
[photo by Blue Sharpie via flickr]

No Responses to “Prisoner Sestina”

  1. Linda Jacobs

    Sometimes sestinas can get off track but yours is right on! You sustained the idea and emotion so well all the way through. And I like the conclusion!

    Can you move to NH and be a student in my poetry-writing class?

  2. Pam

    Well done with this difficult form. You kept the reader engaged with the slight changes in the repetitive words. I really enjoyed the word play of dread and locks.


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