Our Voices > Dispatches from Inside

When We Look in the Mirror

Mar 23, 2024

By Larry Wayne LaFleur

When we look in the mirror, we don’t know who we see.
The years have not been kind:
the sharp remarks, the put-downs, the disregard.
Our eyes and brains play tricks on us.

Once we had a life;
we were loved and we loved.
Sons and brothers,
sisters and daughters,
mothers and fathers.

Now we are nothing more than a number;
we’re not even a name.
Forever stuck in the gravity of our crime,
unable to escape the ridicule of people who don’t know us.

Defined by a statute,
a length of sentence,
a type of crime;
of no worth in the public’s eyes.

We look deep into those eyes in the mirror,
only to see brokenness, chaos, pain, shame, dismay;
the burning question always the same:
Will we or anyone else ever see us any other way?
Will we ever be more than our crimes?

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