Prison strips people’s identity down to a dehumanizing series of digits. A prisoner takes exception. A poem By Lester L. Polk.

I may be known as a number


An unknown entity

to those charged with cataloguing and warehousing me

but actually I am a creative, sentient being.

To some, I am the seventy-second thousand, eight hundredth person to fall

into the trench of the hotel series of lost causes.


But I am a source of volcanic vision, wanted and unwanted.

I am the strength of a geyser, the force of a hurricane.

I am the truth that will not die

no matter how many attempts are made on its life.

I am freedom.

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