The Visiting Room

Zoe Willmott
for my mom
childhood memories
cement walls
surrounded by cold gray
enclosed with hard steel
uncomfortable plastic chairs
around tiny two-foot beige tables
I sit there
waiting
?Donna Willmott, Please report to visiting room?
robotic voices
still echo from my four-year-old mind
ice-cold stares from guards
quickly awaken anxiety in the depths of my belly
cause me to swallow
gulp down my uneasiness
disguise it as best I can
rush and hug
from across the room kisses blown
tender arms scoop me up
across the same two-foot table
which once looked so small
now gigantic
separates us
my desire to hug you/my own mother
eliminated
by side-ways glances from prison guards
weekly trips to FCI Dublin prison
time flies too quickly
to feel it rush past
before I know it
I?m torn between
desire to stay
be with you/my mother
and need to get away from this place
to go home
to a place where complexity disappears
sharp pains in my stomach
reminders that it will soon be time
to say good-bye
desperate attempts to avoid
the awkward moment
of good-bye
intensified
by harsh prison environment
sour vomit
rises in my throat
tears trickle down
pale white cheeks
my most hated place
becomes my favorite
because of you
the visiting room
where I cry more tears
and crack more missing-tooth smiles
than anywhere else
place of my nightmares
wake up in shaky sweats
also the place of my dreams
the visiting room
is where I get
to be with
you