Prisoner’s Release – Steven Garmanian

Free from prison, his eyes, 
more than shaved head, show how close 
he’s been sheared – clear to the bone. 
Creased suit and stained, white shirt 
cannot hide the perfect knot 
tight at his throat. 
Some memories are not lost 
but return if we will them: 
broken fingers can still tie a tie, 
and eyes that see beyond echoing 
gray walls and slats of light 
still find what once was home. 
His face, emerging from shadow, 
is no funeral or passport portrait, 
not propaganda or family history 
but the framed moment of release 
looking past us to what he lost, 
to what he hopes he will find again. 
Already he sees it just out of reach: 
a boy in an early summer field 
reaching through the awakening sky 
toward an apple, hanging red, 
bending the branch down 
to his open, waiting hand.