poem index

Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about the 2019 guest editors and revisit the 2018 guest editors and the poems they curated.

A Cell

Recorded for Poem-a-Day February 18, 2019.
About this Poem 

This poem is published in partnership with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, an organization based in Washington, DC, that is committed to elevating and amplifying the voices of those directly impacted by the prison system. Through creative writing, job readiness training, and violence prevention outreach, Free Minds assists members, who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youths and adults, in realizing their own potential.

A Cell

A metal bunk bed
A mattress and hard pillow
Two lockers and one desk
A toilet and sink
 
A door that is closed
Heat out the vent and it’s hot
I’m sweating, yet it’s cold
A night light on, yet it’s dark
 
A sheet covers me
Yet I want more than a sheet
The floor is cold
Yet I need more than heat
 
A window, but it’s closed
A mirror, but it's fogged
A mind full of thoughts
A heart of love that feels clogged
 
A rush to go, yet I’m here
I say I smile, but it’s a tear
I say I’m relaxed, but I’m tense
I say I’m free, but see a fence

Copyright © 2019 by Johnny. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 18, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Johnny. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 18, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.