In A Cell

by Ace Boggess

Dreamt a prison fight repeating.

Three times. Same guy, faceless.

Guards kept dragging him off 

to the hole, & back he came, 

having learned nothing, yanking his

bedclothes from beneath an inmate, 

collecting his few possessions  from

those who’d claim them.  Each time,

fists. Each time, blood before officers

could intervene.

I didn’t feel like a prisoner. 

I was there, watching, 

not innocent but guilty only 

in the sense that I did nothing 

to prevent these violent

affairs, as American as any


gathered around a house on fire.

About the Author

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, River Styx, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.

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