Edward Ji was awarded Honorable Mention in Poetry in the 2019 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. On September 18, PEN America will celebrate the winners of this year’s contest with a live reading at the Brooklyn Book Festival, BREAK OUT: A 2019 PEN America Prison Writing Awards Celebration.
My co-worker makes parole.
No goodbyes. Just disappears one day.
We wish him well in our hearts,
Like among the dead, one resurrected.
He’ll forget about those still dead;
Shake off the gray dust,
While here, we still sleep,
An island away from the world.
I file my departed friend
Into my memories of the gone,
And inherit his work-boots
As if I were the living,
And he the dead.