"Stanza" by Sherman Alexie


illustration by Joshua Boulet

She'd left corporate law to teach a prison writing workshop. Her parents and friends thought she was a liberal fool. Her husband was afraid she'd be assaulted.

There are guards everywhere, she explained, and my students have earned the right to be there.

Are you teaching any rapists? he asked.

No, she lied.

On an August Wednesday, as she was reading a poem to her nine students, the riot began. She was trapped. She'd signed the waiver. She would not be rescued.

She tried not to scream as her students carried her into a supply closet. God, she thought, help me. But her students, laughing, bundled her into a large cardboard box, loosely taped it shut, and lifted her onto a high shelf.

Don't move until the guards come looking, one voice said to her.

Damn, another said, we ain't going to do something this good ever again. recommended


Comments (5) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
hmm, honestly, I wanted you to rip my heart open with the end of this one.
Posted by DawnLB on September 12, 2012 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Well I felt the opposite and was very relieved that poetry 'saved' her. It's enough to imagine what could have happened ... shudder!
Posted by Lesley-Ann on September 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Mrs Jarvie 3
Taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride but with actual fear of pain in 148 words.
Posted by Mrs Jarvie on September 15, 2012 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Wonderful last line.
Posted by jonnyk on September 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
mdeitche 5
Thank you for not taking the easy way out. Wonderful.
Posted by mdeitche on October 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM · Report this

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