I write outside the gates of the women’s prison in the Appalachia Mountains.
I write in the driver’s seat of my rented Ford Fusion in the prison parking lot and I can’t crank the key, not yet, still traumatized by my first return to my first home.
I write behind my eyelids while prison guards search me everywhere.
I write for my freedom in the Super 8 down the hill from another prison, another state, more states, thousands locked up.
I write off the sweat of my heritage, all those I never met but their scent, their labor,
their losses, their love seeps into and out of me, salty drops on my forehead.
I write under a blood-red moon, its beam carved into the edge of my soul.
I write suspended in air, a trance at dawn in a dream sheet of velvet like a magic carpet until the pad of little girls’ feet on kitchen tile downstairs draws me out because
I write for them, my daughters’ future, their femaleness, for their voices to rise unlocked.