No Single Story

2.7 Million Children:
too many
Parents in Prison,
lives being harmed, not helped.
The losses,

the lack of parental contact,
the children of the
“My dad is in jail.”

Transforming the lives of the children
compassion and courage,
public conversation,
popular culture,
for the
prison population. wpid-IMG_20131124_222658.JPG

The greatest threat
the challenges children face
They say,
“They are
doomed to follow in the same footsteps.”
But it cannot
Will not
their lives

*Poet’s Note:
This is a collage poem. All words have been curated from various articles and reports on children of incarcerated parents (Glaze, 2010; Mosely, 2008; Osborne Association, n.d.; Owens, 2013; Sniffen, 2015). That is, all words, but five: “My dad is in jail.” This sentence I owe to one of my students, who confessed this to me today when his heart was heavy and his life felt doomed. I feel this poem belongs to him, for without his story, I would not have been able to write this poem. It is my hope that this poem, and others like it, may spark a conversation about this systemic issue affecting millions of lives in our nation, but we must remember: these children can be defined by no single story.


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