This lamp

Hangs precariously,

Wayward perched

It shines inside.


By threadbare cap’s brim

It spreads heat barely;

Still it lures

What would fly,

Elude the dark.

It’s light bounces

Around the walls and walls

And walls

Then absconds

Too soon

To do any good.

It’s skin brittle,

Its filament thin-

A tiny shake

or slight crack

Could end all brilliance;


Blind to any


But these confines

Always alurk

Just beyond senses





About “Luke”

The Cornell Prison Education Program has a kind of literary magazine called Writer’s Bloc and this piece was written in response to a prompt asking us to write a poem about an object in our cell which is a metaphor for our life (full, disclosure, I wrote the prompt).

Anyway, “Luke” means illumination and the poem uses my clip-on lamp as it’s symbol. I wrote the piece with the idea that I am never able to fully express the things I have inside me, I always fall short, and yet some people seem drawn to me-sort of pulled into orbit-but those people never seem to understand how very fragile I am.

I’ve never understood the strength people think they see in me or the light. I know I have beauty inside, I see a world much better than the one we live in and I try to impose the one onto the other. Is to try and fail continuously a kind of tragic virtue?

If I have any light worth sharing I suppose it’s my vision of that better world and my resolve to love sincerely. My sadness is the ever-present shade which caps my dreams and leaves me longing in uncertainty and self doubt. I am confined by more than concrete and steel








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