by Larry D. Thomas

His white shirt and charcoal slacks
creased with the telltale signs
of a fresh release from prison,
he presses the imperceptibly

misshapen piece of his resolve
hard into the puzzle of a straight life.
It almost snaps exactly into place.
Though he’s pomaded his hair

and shaved so close his throat burns,
the doors of potential employers
are slammed into his face
like trump cards on a gaming table.

He knocks till his knuckles are raw,
bearing in the striated flesh
of his forehead his ineradicable
tattoo of conviction.

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