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Recorded for Poem-a-Day February 18, 2019. Read by Clint Smith.
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. The poet's last name was withheld on request in consideration of their privacy.

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. 

Johnny

Johnny's poem "A Cell" was selected by Clint Smith, guest editor for Poem-a-Day in February 2019, and published on February 18, 2019.