"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.