Doing Time

She endures

long hours alone

with childish babble

nightmares     and tears



but for his mother’s visits

and phone calls


Her bulging body

a constant reminder

of ever-increasing responsibilities


and of him


in closed cell by night

thinking of her

and dreaming music

he cannot play


doing without newspapers

in preference to being beaten

for the punting guide


and silently labouring by day

goaded by officers

with the power

to punish on a whim.


 c.  Kathryn Coughran


First published: 1994

In: Family Matters

(Kathryn Andersen)

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