I thought at first it was a play,
and wondered who would enjoy
such stasis and pretension.
Those hieratic robes and tone,
an actor who could carry neither off
and took a thousand words to say
Escape is both impossible and a sin.
Absurd, I thought, from a mere warden.
Prisons are waste and pain, not sacred.
Yet to that audience, which filled all space
including what I’d thought was mine …
Their worship turned to cheering when,
repeatedly, he invoked freedom,
a thing that died when it became a word.