The white, hard, plastic bench--
The locked door and chicken-wire window--
The rusted drain, the vaguely urinous steel toilet--
The sink, carved from carbolic soap-- the freezing hiss
Of water to numb a face of tears.
No mirror here to reflect the eye.
Stasis, while the world rolls by
Ten yards from the barrack's escape hatch. . . .
There, in the night, light, liberty,
Macadam and horns, cars shouldered together
In their hurry and happiness,
Loud as immigrants ganging a gangplank.
Here, just stocking feet that point to Hell,
Wadded TP to grind into each eye,
A shiver assuring you you still exist--
Bare as a smashed bulb's electric wire--
Glowing all exposed now under null fluorescents.
Grey-cuffed hands unlatch me, lift me, find my shoes.
My time is done. I shuffle forward.