The prison is like a Victorian asylum, and carefully arranged. The grounds are tastefully laid out, each tree with its own hillock of greeenery and rock, paths intersecting over the parking lot down to the arroyo, where birds have laid nests.
Small bulbous cameras like black wasp’s nests lean out over the edges of the buildings. Not all of the lights work; one flickers with a buzz, on and off over the tarmac. The sky is the most colorful of all, ranging over the brick and stucco, aluminum and tarpaper, wider than anything else.
Some of the workers sing at night, banging against the dumpsters with their pails. The gardeners mow the lawn. The rabbits come down onto it, to gossip and feed. Lizards own the whole of the land, and are in all sizes, from tiny insect to small squirrel. Perching over the bark to watch the humans come and go.
Yesterday there was a rainbow and the lunch tables were wet and sparkling and I ate with my fellow prisoner, discussing all the new rules, and who had come, and who had gone.
The sky curled in on itself, white over orange, a cat half-asleep, or a pearl, lodged inside a clammy mouth.
Some days I feel I have always lived here, with my radio badge and hat. I can even phone my friends—or what used to pass for them—but most do not want to hear from me.
I just watch the sky over the distant mountains; both change every hour. Like a great majestic woman come out on stage to stare down the audience. In all weathers. Her moods range from a serene and submerged drunkenness, to quiet introspection, to flammable awe. Sometimes she is inviting, with her swells and legs. Sometimes she is shielded by her father’s terrible cloak, and her eyes are black.
Perhaps I will climb her one day, though it could kill me, if I do it at the wrong hour. If I do, will I have escaped?
Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his work at www.robindunn.com.