Afternoon in an Women’s Jail

Afternoon in a Women’s Jail

After she’s out, maybe she’ll paint

her walls purple, bright as her son’s

name tattooed on her arm. Salvador.

She’ll bake pies and love the cinnamon heat

in her kitchen. Walk to Key Market

on 5th Street for menudo and tease the butcher.

She’ll work someplace, maybe buy a teacup

and sit on a stoop some night with a man.

Not Salvador. Someone who likes heat.

Make coffee with real cream.

Wear shoes with straw wedges. Dance

to Aretha (who can tease with the best of them).

None of her poems rhymed but she filled pages

with longing when I read Emily Dickinson to her —

another life mostly spent alone in a room.

Published in By & By Poetry October 2015