Prison-souls

They put up grills outside the corridor
that idles before our classrooms.
The quadrangle trapped within
breathes beneath the open skies,
burning in the mid-morning sun,
and hiding in our imaginary mysteries at night.
The new paint on the grills is soft
and green like bluish boredom,
we sunk in our tense fingernails
into patterns of ill humour,
’til uncivil slurs of loud empty threats
shooed us back into shadowy classrooms.
Every time we stepped outside,
the glossy grills drew our leftover pride,
silenced our laughter, till all we could do
to look away from the hypnotic grills
was to gaze vacantly at the red lines,
and the carelessly scribbled words in red
that demanded clearer handwriting,
and red fractions over hundred
that sunk and never rose again.
Sometimes, between the ear-splitting lunch bells,
we’d push our hands out through the gaps in the grills
that ventilated the claustrophobic corridor,
with close-clipped nails, perhaps some spilt ink,
or an apathetic cut from a pencil sharpener,
as the rain poured, stormy and seething
and cold upon our skin, as we counted
in threes, first drops for another word,
bit back to save our mouths
that bleed from all the undeserved apologies
that they were made to speak,
second drops for notes passed under the desk
and crushed words of passion
that choked our wavering voice,
every third for dreams they mocked with skill,
and said we must outgrow, so we grew,
expanding and stretching, deflating and straining,
stifling and pulling, and pulling, and pulling,
until something broke,
and all the sunshine drowned
in these broken prison-souls.

T. E. Pyrus

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7 thoughts on “Prison-souls

  1. Great! I’m so happy! Yes, me and Bri have a ton to do too! It’s a pleasure. I’m thrilled that you like each other. You’re both so creative so I thought your partnership would be perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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