by Shaun T. Griffin
Having served seven years before
the cancer came, the tattoos
scrawled up your broken wrist,
no room for the dark survey of
this grubbing art. Drummer who
didn’t believe he could be hurt—
you symbolized what the other men
wanted: freedom between the lines.
Hard to chain those words now,
but they envied your particular
ride across the fence, and the notes
home gave mother evidence:
poems were more than dust.
You pleaded with me to send
the journal for her birthday and if
there is a death, I imagine your smirk
at having written “About Me, God,”
and read the words to the rueful end.
Shaun T. Griffin co-founded and directed Community Chest, a rural social justice agency for twenty-seven years. His new book of poems, Before the Morning, is forthcoming from the University of Nevada Press. Southern Utah University Press released Anthem for a Burnished Land, A Memoir, in 2016. For thirty years he taught a poetry workshop at Northern Nevada Correctional Center and published a journal of their work, Razor Wire.
To read more of Shaun’s work in this issue, check out “To Enlist in the Carnivore that Is Prison—A Soldier’s Journey into Poetry.”