Your best days will be those you forget you’re in prison.
How can a man forget he’s in prison? you ask.

There will be times when life inside is only life.
Maybe you’re cleaning, reading compelling fiction,

singing a song in your head like a voice
that tells you to dance (don’t dance).

Maybe you’re watching a movie or your favorite team
in the Super Bowl. So many opportunities

for forgetting bars, stone floors,
thin mat hardened on a cold steel bunk.

Even suffering offers escape if brought in like contraband.
Death, divorce, lawsuits, squabbling.

Your son takes his new father’s name. See?
You allowed confinement to slip—how time passes easiest.

Walls blur like the crowd at a concert.
They mean nothing as their shrieks fade from your ears.


Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.