I approach the prison gates, a man, because that is how you have to walk
to look at the memorial.
A guard comes up. A guard’s got questions.
Are you here to visit someone here?
I’m here to meet forty-three ghosts.
I’m here because there may be living men who heard the chopper pass,
who breathed the gas through t-shirts, dodged bullets between the loudspeaker’s
You You will will not be be harmed harmed
who stand right now a .270 shot away, mopping shitters, dusting halls, sweeping the terrazo.
I wanted to heave my whole life the second I left I-90, knowing I would come,
and all along the route saw signs of Jesus’ love, Hay Bales for Sale,
and, hung beneath the eave of every house, red stripes.