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An empty oyster half shell sits on a beach with the ocean in the background
Photo by xiaokang Zhang on Unsplash

I am a single miniscule grain of
sand
dying of thirst in a desert of nearly 2 million other insignificant
specks

Entire beaches of silica swallowed
whole by America’s incarceration monstrosity called
Prison
Reformatory
Jail
Secure Detention Facility
Penitentiary
House of Corrections
Land of the Lost

The infinite granite walls a hard
Shell
clamping down, locking us in

We see behind the concrete curtain
watching in horror as
the great and terrible
administrative wizards wind & grind
the inner machinations of the
System
spineless, heartless, cold-blooded as an
Oyster

My burden: to try to fix the broken by
writing
grievances, kites, letters,
fiction, appeals, essays and
Poems
(like this one)

I’m only one speck of sand
creating a little friction
a minor irritation to the Goliath leviathan

But maybe someday I’ll be a
Pearl.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Matthew Feeney is a writer and poet who has won awards from PEN America and the League of Minnesota Poets. Feeney's writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, including The Analog Sea Review, The Pinyon Review, and Evening Street Review. Three of his poems were performed live at the 2019 World Voices Festival in New York City. Feeney is incarcerated in Minnesota.