fragments

1 In the sink of the prison cell, where we get our drinking water and brush our teeth, we wash our clothes, running the soap bar over the heavy fabric, and ringing away what we can. We hang the clothes over our bunks, letting the stale air strain the last of the wet from the fabric. The orange stain does not wash from anything, not the drip, not our fingers, so we wash everything again.

2 My first week home, I hear that a mosquito can smell where another mosquito has bitten. Those bit once then, are more likely to be bit again, marked as good prey until healed. I am sure certain people have a nose for this, too. It’s why I iron my clothes, and press the mascara against my lashes twice.

3 I fall in love with little orange and blue flowers dressed like they are wearing jailhouse smocks. I visit with them, through their bars and fences, but it’s hard to know a thing from such a distance. Maybe only another flower can hear when a petal snaps somewhere, when a stem is crushed under a heel.

4 I go through my diary entries, looking for stories about things I have loved. I notice these notes, written in various margins as incomplete thoughts. There’s a story in their togetherness. Something about healing despite cycles and stains, despite bloodsuckers and bites, despite the type of distance that shrinks your voice. Something about the triumph that can be found in the margins.

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