With A Smile


An inmate on Thorazine
Waiting to stand trial
Licked the corners of his mouth compulsively
Until he had “The Joker’s” smile

With scabby, crusty bleeding sores
At both ends of his widening mouth
He would pick at them and lick them
Hour after hour after hour

His deformity
From far away made him always look happy
But up close you could see
Truly immense suffering

He didn’t socialize
He couldn’t socialize
He shuffled around some but was always shunned
So he mostly kept to himself
Staying in his cell
Staring out of the window at the prison employee parking lot

And everyday at 5 o’clock 
The correctional officers would change shifts

As he watched
The female guards
Walking to their cars
He would stand in their alone


Tapping on the glass
Hoping they would see him
And acknowledge him