I drove past a wall of stone and barbed wire marked by a sign
Which proclaimed CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION in bold white letters
Over a sky-blue field.
I wondered aloud why the sign said CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
When they meant PRISON?
They are not free, I said, inside those walls –
No promises are made to these men that they will survive
No guarantees can be made that society will accept them back
Or that they will be complete and intact in the end
No pun intended.
The crimes for which they are interned
Are the stripes on their sleeves, the medals on their chests
Their battle zone will leave youth twisted, wisdom destroyed
PRISON, I said, pressing hard against the gas.
At the next city I stopped.
I checked into a motel, my wares in hand.
I stepped into my room, with its dead-bolt locks
With its shatter-proof windows
With its bed bolted to the wall
With the remote control chained to the bedpost
Like Gideon's Samson.
Turning on the Evening News to learn of the world outside,
I stood CORRECTED.