ALESHA (Lyrical Iowa, 2001)

Alesha dresses in white lace.
She copies the words of Byron and Browning
In large, flowery letters
And signs her own name at the bottom.
She tucks the poetry into an envelope
With a love letter to her boyfriend.
She dreams of marriage, children, and becoming a nurse.

Alesha stands in a dark alley
Laughing and smoking pot.
One girl mentions her boyfriend’s name
And Alesha holds a knife to the girl’s throat,
Then orders her not to talk about her man.
Seventy-five miles away, in the state prison,
Alesha’s boyfriend reads Byron and Browning.

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