An Indeterminate SHU

Chilled gusts slice through razor wire
creeping around the window’s edge
like ants teeming over breadcrumbs.
Rats intrepidly stalk the tier sniffing
remnants of tonight’s repast. I pay them no heed.
I seek solace in my Qu’ran
but cacophonous shouts ripped from disquieting sleep
intrude my mood. I pace a six by nine enclosure;
my home for eight years, three months, and fourteen days.
A numbing monotony asphyxiating dreams:
I’ve counted every spot of flaked paint
on the wall; know the sound of each guard’s swaggering gait.
But I don’t know the sound of a mother’s whisper
kissing goodnight.

*Indeterminate SHU: Sentenced to the hole (Security Housing Unit), in the California Department of Corrections, for an indeterminate period of time.