Do You Still Have Any of Your Prison Stuff?

by Ace Boggess

(question asked by Savannah Dudley)

Open the 2012 volume of Best American Poetry
& there inside its avocado cover
see my inmate number written in black sharpie
by a C.O. from the mailroom.
A reminder. There’s not much else.
I was never one to accumulate wealth.

There might be a few CDs—Bowie,
Cracker, Rolling Stones—in a drawer,
or the silvery, small address book
that kept lousy records, so empty
flipping through its pages left me lonely.

I discarded my white prison sneakers
a few years back, those
last traces of convict garb
I wore walking out the gate.

I’ve kept things less tangible:
memories, poems, grudges.

 

 

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, The Night Heron Barks, and other journals, including Hawai’i Pacific Review. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.

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