Suppose the sun
were a ball of wax, a marble
to look through, your kneecap
detachable and comforting. What
would the officer say, trying to avoid
the slight smile on your lips?
He takes out his notebook, enters
your name with a tiny check
like the English teacher who waited to catch
you closing your eyes to hear: have
some respect, swallow that butterfly. You invented names
behind her back too, she took them away
with an extra assignment. Then
or therefore, who can guess why your nonchalant finger
pauses from writing 500 times
to trace the warmth that still lingers
like morning candy or egg
in the turn of your smile?


August 1968
Santa Rita Jail


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