“Pickens” by Stephanie Jackson


Failing, falling, colliding with space Existing, surviving but no permanent place.

Left to words written by closet light, internally extinguished the merit to fight.

Power depleted, even the imaginary kind. Teeth talk of no hope — only clatter and grind.

Diminishing worth and remaining rationale; power-outage purpose and cold morale.

Chalk tallies on the wall, permanent in one’s mind. Encouragement in a haystack, much sharper to find.

Malnourished pride, forced to kiss seats. This is the prisoner admitting defeat.