In the state’s first co-ed prison
we mingle with fellow inmates
in the Great Room. Wine and hors d’oeuvres
precede a dinner in honor
of the governor’s visit. Sent here
for picking your boyfriend’s pockets,
you retain that elevated smirk
you learned as a runway model
in your grim, attenuated youth.
Convicted of slandering realtors,
I look forward to the quiet
enforced by sleepy third-shift guards.
I didn’t expect to share prison,
let alone my cell, with you. The days
will stumble along as always
with quarrels over the merits
of Tolstoy, Mahler, Picasso,
Faulkner, Debussy, van Gogh.
The nights, however, will thicken
and pass as slowly as paint drying.
You insist on the top bunk
where your dreams of furtive glory
will form like soap bubbles and rise
to slick the green enameled ceiling.
You requested me as cellmate
because I’d never molest you
or allow in our cell anyone
likely to risk your vampire bite.
Women like you, if any
are like you, prefer to roost
high above the madding crowd,
even if that crowd consists
only of me. Here in the Great Room
a couple of the greasier males
approach, and one pinches you,
so I have to dump him in the punch.
The governor notes this and laughs
and offers you his fondest smile.
He knows we’re going to enjoy
his new prison. When you’re released
you’ll elope with him, leaving me
growling on the bottom bunk,
more a fetus than a beast.