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Black and white image of stone tiles with a shadow overtop
Photo by Augustine Wong on Unsplash

Thirteen tiles.
That's how many it takes
from the floor to my eyes.
I've become familiar with
the grout and lines,
fist-sized squares
five-by-five.

Day by day we meet again,
fingers touch the tiles
like shaking hands;
my palm print there,
as if proof I'm here,
but moments later
washed away as if
I'd never be again.
I reach out, forward,
supported by the
characters on the
deluge-drawn stone:
comforted at being alone.

Should God exist,
would he listen here,
where I raise my head
and fix my gaze ahead
like a doe's eyes
caught in a glare?
Baptized by the day,
praying through the rain,
soothed away from daily
baths of freezing cold
and dried by flame,
I hear the roar of water
almost whisper my name…

Instead I swim
in the dull, but glittering, beads
that stream their tails
across the tiles
like winded sails
across the sea.
And through tears
and in my dreams
I find the ground
beneath my feet;
drips streak off
water-soaked wings,
open my eyes to everything.

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.

Christopher Dankovich is a writer incarcerated in Michigan.