Orange is the new… color of Wednesday

On Wednesday evenings I write with the women of Larimer County Detention Center. On the back of their orange jumpsuits, written in black marker are letters an inch and a half tall: S, M, L, XL. I suppose it is better not to have to float or squeeze into one-size-fits-all institution-provisioned garb, but the label-on-the-outside bugged me. Why does anyone have to know she needs the XL? And doesn’t her cellie feel small enough without announcing it to the world with a crazy “S” on her back? I remember the heavy thumb of prison rules. I am glad to be here on Wednesdays to help create a safe space where the rules are few (please be quiet when we write and read) and where women are free for a moment to ask “What makes a poem a poem?” and “Will you listen if I tell you about my children?”

Yes, to the latter, and rapt. You, to the former and watch.

It’s a little bit of miracle again.


Her glint and shimmer

I found a small starfish

when I lifted the carpet of the sea.

Just four orange arms and she was alive,

undulating, pulsing-wet a semi-star.

I lifted her to my lips, whispered thanks

for proof once again that everything shines.

A spit-crested wave then carried her back

to that dark space beneath that waited for

her glint and shimmer.



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