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POETRY prison is a simple place without music or chords. no strumming of heartstrings or drumming on about dreams. just a quiet space filled by the calloused rasp of a hand, dragged across your lips and the sigh of metal as it skips from rib to rib. This time, this time This time I will not quarrel with chains. I have no room for scars, and will fit my bones to their bracelets. This time I will not spy on my memories. I will forget the lessons of lips, the temperature of tongues. This time I will not speak with birds. Let music blanket others; I will burrow with worms. This time I will not scream. Sleep folds its flames around me; ashes fill my cheeks. This time I welcome the jailer’s keys. They soothe with a well-known exactness, the sound of my surrender. jorge antonio renaud Jorge Antonio Renaud is a former editor of Tejas, a minority-student paper published at UT from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. He worked as a copy editor at the Austin American-Statesman. His book Behind the Walls: A Guide to Texas Prisons is forthcoming this fall from University of North Texas Press. Currently serving a prison term for robbery in Travis County, he is a regular columnist with Hispanic Link, writing on Hispanic and prison issues. These two poems are from a work in progress, a collection of short stories and poetry, The Restlessness of Bound Wrists. Naomi Shihab Nye 9/21/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21