They never showed
me the razor wire in the pictures
or the drug dogs who sniff everyone’s crotch and thighs.
The teenage girl having to bring tampons
in a sandwich bag doesn’t make the glossy pamphlet.
The mom crying beside her son dressed in all gray,
looking like he hasn’t slept in weeks, must not be picture perfect.
They don’t show the kids crawling on the daddy
they haven’t seen in six months
because of the distance and money.
Gas isn’t free, you know, especially
When the money has to pay for an attorney.
No, the picture on the internet depicts a well-kept building
and green lawns, displays the daisies, and smiling workers.
Summer camp happiness.
No one sees the mom driving away, mascara staining her
cheeks as the razor wire disappears in the rear view mirror.
No one mentions the glass of the county jail.
Transparent, solid, three inches thick and smeared with handprints.
Uncaring faces of guards who have seen too much.
They made you a number.
Not to me. To me you’re swing pusher and protector.
You are tear wiper and video game player.
You are my chauffeur and my grilled cheese maker,
but to them you’re convenience store robber,
seven in with thirteen on paper.
To them you are a mistake.
To me you are my big brother who made a mistake.
You wanted acceptance you didn’t receive.
You fucked up, and I won’t defend it.
We were raised the same, so I know you knew better
Why couldn’t you listen when I begged with you and pleaded?
You forced upon us that experience.
Face to face with nothing between us
By Jenna Neece
Jenna Neece is an Oklahoma native. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and is working on her MFA in Poetry Writing at Oklahoma State University. She works as a GTA for Oklahoma State University English Department, is PR Coordinator for the OSU Writing Center, and in August she was a featured poet on featuredpoet.com with more work forthcoming.