I used to write to a man on death row. I started writing to him when I was a junior in college, and I wrote to him every few months for about four years. His name is Vernon. While I was in college, I had the opportunity to visit the jail where he is incarcerated. I wrote this in 2005 after a visit to the prison.
401 East Madison St.
From the smooth, cool, brown leather of the sofa
I hear the buzz of the coke machine, Circa 1975
I’m sitting in a waiting room that could be in
Any hospital, anywhere
But this waiting room, this anywhere,
Is a somewhere so unique
This is where the children and
The mothers and the lovers
Of the condemned sit and wait
To hear a name called.
Then they rise,
Children excited because they don’t understand,
“Man these shoes hurt” and “Is my lipstick on straight?”
Primped and prepped for their tête-à-tête;
Half an hour with their very own
Dead man walking.
I see them come in and go out, through
The door that stands between the living
And the living dead;
There above the door, a sign that seems
To be mocking them, saying
“You made a difference.”
What do you think? Any tips/feedback on the writing are greatly appreciated!