Prison Count

I was only your teacher of verse
but you chose me to walk you down that vale.
I prayed to be worthy.

You couched your medals and keys into the paper,
all you had. You left me your white sage

for bathing. I beseeched the shell
in the sweat lodge to anneal your brokenness.

From the Yard PA:
“The count is clear.
The Institution count is clear.”
One less skin tomorrow.

We held tight,
walked in matching steps.

Rattle of the Chumash shaman.
“May your transgression find clemency.”

You winked at me. I bowed to you, rendered
you to Exit.

No chair.
Lights did not dim.
You chose Oxycodin.
Everyone does.





Glenna Luschei has operated Solo Press for fifty years. She is the author of many chapbooks, special editions, and trade books. In 2016 she released Singing and Dying, published by Penciled In, which received the Nebraska Book Prize. She was recently named a “Literary Treasure of the Mid-Coast” by the Ventura County Arts Council. She has received an NEA Fellowship, several California Arts Council grants, and the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship. Luschei is vice president of the international literary journal InterlitQ. She was named Poet Laureate of the city and county of San Luis Obispo for the year 2000.

Latest Issue

Issue 85

More In This Issue