Prison Bars Dissect a Man

You lie yourself down like a woman,
dark cheek against cold floor.
If I could, I’d recoil: your lips
parted & thick with drool,

its trail down chin & neck.
I imagine the air-conditioned
stutter of your life beating
up against unshaven skin

how it must tune itself
to the echo of me shutting
behind you this morning
and every morning, steel

on variegated steel. You
are not the first. Not even
close. Every man I meet
begins as fear, paces slow

circles around his cage.
Forgets his hands. Every
man protects a chaos,
a wanting to be free.

Sometimes they can wait for it,
straddling in their minds
the worlds I divide.
This one will not.

The fetus shape & lunatic
smile, the quicksilver mind
leaking like tears from his eyes.

Cameron SteeleCameron Steele is in the second year of her masters in poetry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her poems and creative non-fiction are forthcoming or have appeared in Red Paint Hill, Ivy Hall Review and Northern Colorado Writers’ “Pooled Ink” edition. Her first chapbook “Attribution” was published in 2014 by the South Dakota State Poetry Society, and her poem “Dreaming of Ducks” won the Academy of American Poets College Award in 2010.

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