Witnessing your arrest

Wrists manacled outside
a mediocre motel, you
look like trouble,
like habitual offense:

arms sleeved in tattoos
beneath a rumpled
t-shirt, hair unkempt,
jeans baggy around

a leanness that says not
enough, never enough;
a face made
for a mug shot.

Yet your placid form, its
complete acquiescence,
and the courtesy in your
voice, asking the officer to

please fetch your reading
glasses, familiar, I suppose,
with the boredom of
jail, the geometry of

bars, the small space
around you, the large
void within, and planning
to fill it with something

less Dostoevsky and
more King, crime and
punishment writ surreal
and horrifying —

someone else’s
life, not yours —

heavy-lidded on the thin
mattress, surrendering at
last to the authority of sleep,

where some happy ending
might yet be found.





  1. An honest sadness in this piece, Cate. A soul lost to either poor upbringing, unfortunate circumstance, or simply flawed internal wiring. -Russ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. But he was young, and perhaps redemption awaits! One catches snapshots of a stranger’s life, without knowing what came before or what lies ahead. . Thanks for reading, Russ!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. We all need to maintain the hope the future will be better. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. D'Arcy Fallon · · Reply

    Love this, Cate. Wondering what the genesis is of the poem. (My triggers are none of your business, the poet responds.) This one got me. xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually witnessed an arrest; this poem represents a total failure of symbolism. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Bisty.


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