After the worst of the pandemic (hopefully), I come back to teach at the Juvenile Detention Center. It’s been three years. I remember a lot of the boys. I hate that fact. I don’t know and won’t ask if they’ve been here the whole time. The other possibility is worse. They are supposed to be here learning their lesson, feeling sorry, breaking cycles, approximating High School. They slip their feet in and out of their rubber sandals, spend long periods of time alone in the bathroom, take their medication, argue with the officer beside the pencil sharpener, and I begin my lesson in proximity. On the last day they sing.

Charles Malone works with writers in the community and schools around Kent, OH. He recently won the Moonstone Arts Chapbook prize for his collection “After an Eclipse of Moths.” His full-length collection is “Working Hypothesis” (Finishing Line Press). And his first chapbook “Questions About Circulation” was published by Driftwood Press as part of the Adrift Chapbook Series. Charles now works at the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State.

Appears In

Issue 18

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