by Jack Vian

You know I don't,
but if I had it
I'd hold it inside you.
I'd hold it below your heart
and above your ass.
I'd hold it longer still
and make you cry.
I'd hold it till you swore
you were gonna die.
I'd hold it like a naked beer
that never ran dry
and like an empty heart
that had never learned to sigh.
I'd hold it like a blue note
that had never been sung
and like a sad song that had never been played
because I'd hold it longer than the long night
we found out our world had first been betrayed.
Yes, I'd hold it
like I promised I'd hold you,
if only you'd promise
to hold me too.

Jack Vian won the PEN Prison Contest for Poetry in 2004. His
poems have recently been published in Rattle; Southwestern
American Literature; Colere; and War, Literature & the Arts.
Another is
forthcoming in Big Muddy. He practices yoga and follows
the Dharma at the Texas Department of Corrections-Beaumont.

Photo: Rochelle Bettis      Art:
Timothy Raines