Poem In Which I Reside in a Female Prison with Two Male Guards and No Allies

My sentence was to end in May, but the law changed, and although no one can satisfactorily explain how this amendment applies to me, I am admittedly deaf to cultural nuance, insisting (as though anyone cares) I’d have been released if I were jailed in my home country where my crime is de rigueur and where, too, my guards would almost certainly not be men, one of whom fucks me which is fine because I am that needy, whereas the other wants no sex but gives presents I can’t use like ponchos saying Beati Possidentes.  When new prisoners join they cursorily look my way then ignore me as though my aging reminds them of what they’ll be after 10 years of dichotomous treatment. They don’t ask my advice which is just as well because I know nothing and suffer from a brain fog that is either anxiety or else I am being poisoned: maybe by the gifts from the second prison guard or maybe the semen from the first, or maybe—as is the predominant explanation—I am administering it myself.

Kathryn Maris

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