Lyle has little to say, and no one to say it to.
Bred of men who learn trades,
who work and build nests, who belong;
now an old indigent man in a county jail
losing hope that anyone cares.
He has said to me what he has to say, and
I want him to say it again. I want to touch him
in his aloneness and share his pain.
I go to him – “You hanging in there, Lyle? You doing ok?”
And I know what he’s going to say:
“I’m just hoping to hear something about my case.
I wrote my public defender, but I aint heard nothing back.
I don’t know what they’re going to offer me, they postponed my
case and I aint heard nothing.”
He speaks the thoughts that grind in his mind:
“I wrote my wife but she hasn’t wrote back.
I got a brother in Vincennes; he lives with his wife and kids.
He don’t answer my letters.”
And I wait for the words that complete our pain:
“I know they got the letters.
I had other letters come back because the person wasn’t there.
So they must have got them.”
If I speak, he says it again.