Released from my office
on a tree-lined college campus
I cruise the colors of the city
and further west down narrowing roads.
In a thick band of woods
South Walpole’s Winter Street forgets its name
passing over the Stop River
to become Clark Street in Norfolk
where the trees drop away
for barren fields
like an emptied moat
before high stone walls topped with razor wire.
Inside, sealed behind six coats
of Light Neutral, the cement block walls
have stopped dreaming of sunlight
the twin fluorescent bands overhead their only friend.
The speckled gray linoleum floor won’t talk
even when scuffed by the desk chairs
brought in to impersonate a classroom
or when I arrive during 6pm movement.
But with the door closed
and COs nowhere in sight
voices echo so eagerly
that I strain to hear the student beside me.