Old Indigent Man In County Jail

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.

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