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AFTERWORD I BY ANDREW PAPKE I Know Why the Caged Bird Screams y ou go’n sleep awl day, Hank?” Kris startles me from a fitful slumber. “Git y’self on;’ I growl, then kick the sheets at my persistent pal with his canary-feather grin. He stands at the end of my bunk, just out of striking distance. He brazenly assaults me with the bad news that work time is upon us. We’ll be eating a frozen breakfast of Texas winter wind yet again, it seems, so I slip on the worn-out brogans Kris has lobbed onto my gut. The Juan Valdez commissary coffee tastes like floor-scrapings, but I make a double-shot and slam it down John finger in tooth powder and scrub the overnight fuzz from my teeth, and it’s “hello world” as another day begins. A fun-house image mocks me from the warped, scratched plastic mirrors bolted into the bricks above a long line of basins in our dorm. I smile back at myself and whistle a lonesome Hank Williams tune, my body jump-started by caffeine, steeled against another day’s floggin’ out in the fields: Gotta pay my debt to society. MAY 4, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29