An ounce more
a sliver of luck
(or lack thereof):
the only forces separating us,
besides the guards
gazing suspiciously through the stagnant air
and electric gates
lurching heavily to block access
in the rusted chain-linked maze.
Inside, we taunt stiff officers
with our giggles
out of our bellies,
ricocheting off of
out-of-service vending machines.
Our hopes work as balm
on wounds inflicted by mistakes;
our smiles serve as shade
from the heat of other inmates’ glares.
We share memories to feel.
We plan the faraway future to hope.
We throw jokes to forget,
like skipping stones
dancing on the duct-taped linoleum,
our laughter bursting out defiantly
floating around the watchful tower
and beyond the crowded walls.