WHAT PEOPLE LOVE TO LOVE ABOUT PRISON after Jen Hadfield what people love about prison is the radical separation what people love about separation are the handwritten letters what people love about letters is first-person narrative what people love about the person is tragedy what people love about tragedy is a glimpse of gallows humour what people love about humour is the rising above what people love about rising is nobility what people love about nobility is vengeance what people love about vengeance are the rules about snitching what people love about snitching is the insider’s language what people love about language is the uniform of belonging what people love about uniform is the sense of containment what people love about containment is the furtiveness what people love about furtive is the passage of contraband what people love about passage is the vehicle of ass what people love about the vehicle is physical ingenuity what people love about ingenuity is the chance to win respect what people love about respect is what they’ll do to the pedophiles what people love about what they do is the assumption of a code what people love about the code is the clarity what people love about clarity is the purity of heart what people love about purity are the saints what people love about saints are the bones THIRD TRIMESTER LETTER THIRD TRIMESTER LETTER The midwives say I worry too much and swallow

this: our souls are in the womb of God.

And so the swifts behind your old apartment, like whirling dervishes,

ecstatic, funnel-fall into a chimney with no house.

I stand waiting for a feminine, cosmic exhale.

My soul’s fetal ears are useless nubs. Others,

optically developed, said depleting ozone was God’s effacing cervix.

Their minute taste buds know that missing species

are dissolved nutrition for we, the amniotic chosen.

All I can say is She. We. She. We. Like kegels,

these orphic contractions comfort, even pleasure, but during

Big Events, don’t we melt like sugar pills?

Take this: a pregnant woman needs help to turn her

wrong-facing fetus. Where does that leave souls?

Either God is pregnant, helplessly cherishing her innards

or she’s over there: gloved, seldom seen (and then, between

the knees). I can’t think that existence gets Placenta and the Hand.

So I am diagnosed pregnant in the left-brain.

My logic tells me I should lie as still as God

for the palpation of your next letter. Each time

I say God is pregnant, I mean Right me, I mean Help.   Alison Smith PhotoAlison Smith lives in Nova Scotia. She is the author of The Wedding House (Gaspereau Press 2001), Six Mats and One Year (GP 2003), and the chapbook Fishwork, Dear (GP 2009). Her poems have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Fjords Review, Event Magazine, The Malahat Review, and Understorey.