My Sunrise
by Rhonda Leland

 poetry  prison-life

Here I sit surrounded by concrete and steel,
upon a metal bed I am perched.
My mood has become as hard as my
surroundings and as lifeless and empty.
It seems nothing can move me.

As I look out the window
I am careful to keep my gaze toward the sky,
so I can give my mind a chance to imagine someplace,
any place beyond where I am.

However, thoughts like that do not come easily
and my gaze falls on the buildings across the way,
they are exactly the same as the one I am in.
I realize the isolation, pain and heartache
that must grip so many other women that live here,
all of us seeing the same scene day after day.

I think of all the luxuries I may never get to hold,
then all the ones I took for granted,
and the ones I would never take for granted again.
Like holding my children when I hear their cry,
being able to look into my mother’s eyes when I speak to her.
Actually, having the chance to speak to anyone
without a time limit and a loud interruption
to remind me I am in prison and may time is up.

It would seem the noise of 200 women
living in the same building would be enough!
I awoke today as the sun peeked over the rooftops,
but it did not move me to stare.
Because I know that as sure as the sun will rise
my days will mostly be the same.
I go through my morning routine as a slave
knows she must go through hers.
Just as the unspoken rule of punishment
lingers in our mind with what you haven’t done.
Punishment surly brings pain and pain
is something I can no longer afford.

Perhaps, one day I will wake up to a comfortable stillness,
I will watch the sunrise, thank God for the day,
and mostly, I will smile from my soul,
Be strong, that is what I am told, how could I not?
“The smiles and daydreams have left me and strength is all I know.