Visiting Attica Prison 16,768 Days After the Rebellion

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’m here.

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.