by Marlow Terry

Second place, Poetry, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, July 2022


If I gave up my position

as the provider does that make

me less than a man?

Am I wrong for feeling like

no one can take care of mine

better than I can?

Am I wrong for feeling by any

means this has to work & if

it doesn’t by any means I

master dirt?

How about when I’m laid off

& my bills are not paid off &

the workforce won’t give my

criminal history a day off?

When the program say no the

budgets to low

am I wrong for not wanting to

ask for thier help anymore?

If I decide to break the law without

harming a soul & my situation changed because

of it do I deserve parole?

If I don’t understand do I have to be

looked at as if I can’t improve

with eviction on the line children on

my mind should I be feeling I have

nothing to lose?

When you fear what’s in your mind

is truth & its design is for you

only to relate to a black man’s shoes

then we don’t want your sympathy but

respect your empathy humanizing the

reality in which a black man moves.