I’m checking into the prison to teach my 6 o’clock writing class, and some church choir is also here–apparently they’re scheduled to perform a concert for the inmates. I get stuck behind the lot of them going through the first of three metal detectors. Of course they’ve brought along all sorts of bits that just aren’t going make it through: 3-ring binders with metal clips, bangles and bracelets, hair pins. On the other side, they each have to be frisked, but they don’t know the routine like I do, how to properly spread arms and legs. One puts her hands on the wall, another refuses to part her feet. My watch reads 5:38–I’m usually in my classroom by now (they won’t start the movement until I’m physically in the room). S. C. O. Pearson has eyes on the whole scene, and when she looks at me, she laughs (I know I have to fix my face). She says she’ll call me a separate ride up to max. In the waiting room, the choir gets in one last practice, the ungodly bellow echoes off the trailer’s walls and low ceiling. This is not how prison sounds: the drone of the metal fans, the hollers ricocheting down hallways. This is not the ritual.

          outdoor symphony
          a murder of crows preys
          on a mouse

Pushcart Prize nominated poet Christine Taylor resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey, aka “The Queen City.” She is the EIC of Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of Poetry, whose mascot Nahla is the clumsiest black cat ever.   WEB