Skip to main content

The Image In The Mirror

Looking through the mirror cast by a five-year-old reflection.
Hot lead is raining from every rooftop,
the peaceful avenue cracks,
violently slicing that air between my five years and mom’s outstretched hand.
El Salvador erupts.
Mother screams into shell-shock silence,
gathering my brother and sister into the temporary shelter of a small concrete wall.
Making herself small, she desperately pounds a nearby door.
Bodies grunt lifeless to the pavement with each bang-bang of her fist.
“Por favor” bleeding from mama’s tiny knuckles,
beseeching the stranger on the safe side of a thick, rust-colored door,
“Tengo mis hijos” (I have Children).
An old woman’s tired eyes slowly crack the door,
just enough to lend us her tidy wooden floor for the night.
Echoes of way whip across the stars,
stealing innocent lives.
In the morning the war woke us,
pulling back our blanket of security, we ran.
We all ran, every one of us, in every direction.
Alone, I ran into an intersection of empty buses and open car doors with motors running.
I couldn’t understand the lack of movement,
why cars were parked in the middle of the streets.
Turning to run,
I tripped over a child’s bloody body,
face-to-face with her frozen eyes,
lightly dusted and dull.
Afraid to move,
afraid they might blink.
I laid in the eerie calm of a diesel motor dying.
A few minutes seemed like eternity
a soldier pulled me to my feet and made them walk over the dreams and bloated bodies.
He took me to the church where I found my family.
Three days later I saw his
I never knew his name.

Incarcerated: 27 years Housed: San Quentin

Receive more inspiring stories and news from incarcerated people around the world.