This poem was submitted by Hettie Jones as part of the 2015 PEN World Voices Online Anthology. It was written about her many years of experience teaching at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York State’s maximum security prison for women.

Hettie Jones’s event: Writing on the Inside, Reading on the Outside: Exploring the Work of Prison Writers and Their Mentors

Mother Moon surfs the sky
                                    rides the white cap clouds

Mother Moon is a visitor over the Bedford Hills

                      climbing the barbed wire
                      the old brick
                                   the young woman
                                              wondering whether
                                              she’ll bleed to death

Mother Moon is like me, she knows when to say
                                   Correctional Facility

Mother Moon over the parking lot

            diving into the potholes
                                                on the highway

Mother Moon is bringing in the harvest
you know she grows cocaine?

Mother Moon she’s bad sometimes
she’s big, she

turns the tide in every
             double x chromosome

                       blood is only one part

                       we are way past
                       what they say defines us

                                we renew

                        Mother Moon rides high

                                we too

                                we change


This poem appeared in Drive by Hettie Jones, Hanging Loose Press (1998).