On Writing from Perspective

Rachel Nicotra

Up the spotted stairs, against the dusty mauve metal
A space is hidden when it is less than obvious and silent still
A prisoner sits against metal—dust collects that no one cleans
And who is permitted to write without identity?

If I am a prisoner—and the concrete is spotted and the metal collects dust
and people pass looking without words
Then why am I obligated at all?
What of the pain we all feel
The feelings we put away
Where learning to breathe means boxing thoughts we’d rather not touch
And the clutter is suffocating
When learning to breathe is concentrating on the way the light moves on the wall
The pattern a candle casts of its glass holder
Or fluorescent lights broken and dusty

The metal is layered with paint
And I only look down
I sit still
Trying to keep my eyes shut
I raise my head and wait
Dreaming of open spaces: long grass fallen into a mesh covering
The half frozen ground of spring
The junky look of the woods uncleared
And shingles that are tattered

The simplicity of my cell
The grey, mauve
the spotted stained concrete
And a continual nagging responsibility to write
Write and record from this perspective and not that
But when we speak
When we breathe
When all we are is boxed and blown from open mouths
When we sit waiting to dissolve
Why speak as who, or of who, we are at all?