Men As Children In Prison, Dissolving

After hearing you tell how you murdered

three people in an afternoon

and hearing another tell two,

and hearing another tell one,

and another tell two,

and another tell,

and another

I’m telling you:

there are bits of me stuck in seeing all of you

in your prison blues




heart open

choking on your own disgust with yourselves

– how it was decades ago,

as children you came to killing

and how you’ll never not be those children dissolving

in the living —

in the haunting  —

as only a dozen of us sit in this room

but God,

there are so many lives haunted here.

The details don’t matter

in order to understand

that you as a child

were dissolving in your haunting

long before you spilled,

and you are dissolving still:

Grabbing at pieces of yourself

feathery and drifting

like children grab

at viscous bubbles

in awe, like deciduous

trees come alive

with new leaves —



Althea Seloover, 2020