Yes We Could
“It feels like anything is possible.”
Crackled paint crushed under finger at the crux of my cell bars.
Hoots & hollers echoed off brick/ held from total abyss by floodlights
leveling the darkness overnight. Some chant while Jessie cried for the camera.
A guy laughed hysterically. Not everyone cared—this guy had his own
TV to watch I suppose. Clapping came in spurts. Through tessellations blue
& gold fought in flickers, the cells mirrored a/cross in the tile window grid,
a spreadsheet of what it meant for us, for me. There came a knock on the wall. Next
door my homeboy stretched his long arm through the bars to meet mine.
In origami fashion a message bloomed to reveal scribble most couldn’t read. After
his tenth year, he wrote, he started believing/ nothing would change. The hope
his number would drop by appeal, parole board, or anything more than a calendar
page passed with the people he used to know a decade ahead of me. I picked
at the paint, flicked the chips off the tier/ counted layers like rings from a fallen tree
unheard. We needed to see stars through those dingy window panes. I tried to look higher;
aspired to moon or stars. But only saw the silhouette of another building within the walls.
C. Fausto Cabrera is a multi-genre writer and visual artist incarcerated since 2003. He is a member of the Board of The Minnesota Model of Youth Diversion Project, Co-founder of The Stillwater Writers Collective, partnered with Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW) and dedicated Inmate Advocate. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Missouri Review’s Literature on Lockdown, The Colorado Review, From the Inside Out: Letters to Young Men and Other Writings, 2017 Poetry Behind the Walls book project published by Save the Kids, & [Not] The End from TulipTree Publishing