Wintersun Lemieux was awarded an Honorable Mention in Fiction in the 2022 Prison Writing Contest.

Every year, hundreds of imprisoned people from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated population.


Once upon a time there was a boy who was a wave in the ocean, he fell in love with a girl who was a rock on the shore. He thought of little else and longed to be with her. One day, he decided to go see her. He went as swiftly as he could and when he crashed into her, he felt a great pain in his chest. He rolled around on the beach in agony. He believed the girl had broken his heart, but the truth would always be that he had broken his heart against her. He looked to his beloved and asked, “how can you do this to me?” Then he looked into his heart, and asked, “how could you do this to me?”

So having no use for a broken heart he left it there and began his life as a homeless vagabond forced to roam the countryside. To wander without aim the fields and valleys, the deserts and mountains, all the time believing he was destined to be alone.

Sometime later Hermit Crab Woman happened to come across the abandoned remains. She picked up a piece and twirled it about her fingers and thought, “this is a fine heart! I bet if I can find all the pieces it will make a good home.” She set to the task of gathering the remains of the boy’s heart. One by one she found them until she had all, or nearly enough to all, as it made no difference. She began the laborious process of piecing it all together.

To finish reading this, as well as the works of all other contributors, purchase Variations on an Undisclosed Location: 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology here.