Guards usher a painter inside the prison
walk her through a metal detector;
her glue, sequins, glitter, chalk, and crayons
show translucent, dulled under the x-ray.
Her nude eyes and lips – no make up today,
betray nothing as a panic button
is tied around her waist. Cameras weigh
down on her; sirens hang overhead, mute.
Nine faces, pale as wood anemones,
wait to collage, to colour-in, and paint.
For one hour, they promise to be good as.
They sprinkle glitter like kids, brightening.
Lustre gleams, they illumine - if light chimed
a cathedral carillon could peel from
those eyes, luminous as luciferase
enzymes inside woodland moist jack-o’-lanterns
(light born as fungi rot dead wood, oak duff…).
After, the men speak of wishes: a flower
from a hilltop; the postcard of the alter
housed below a distant chapel spire. Yes
she’ll slip a larkspur under the x-ray
next week, its detail screened as daybreak shades,
she’ll watch a reaction glimmer in eyes
imprisoned by wooden hurt that can’t rot.