A Book Club on Death Row

The Gardener’s Almanac

contributes to routine, the screws quipping

‘life’s no bed of roses’—a joke 

repeated to the captive crowd

each week, calming any nerves

about their lawyers’ visits. 


After all, what good is ad-lib

when the straws they chose are short?


Donated books the staple, before 

the rounds the pages fanned

for corner crimps or glossaries 

soaked in spice—but time 

talking books is what they crave.


A few read well—their crime 

a weight offset by Degree, by night classes

or in-house at the factory: 

for others, rap sheets spooling years

from truancy to murder, a sentence a mountain

big as any sentence on the row.


Jane Austen was here, library

castoffs stacked ten titles deep, but 

Pride and Prejudice was tougher fare

than solitary—the lingo 

too much like solicitors.’


Over the west wall, a drone

tries its luck—spot-lit from the towers

it snags the nets, then clatters

to the yard below.

Blue is a Being
It Is Up to You