Behind the tall walls, a man is holding a megaphone to his mouth and wearing his voice out with passion. You can hear him from the middle of the road, saying words like “Jesus,” “Restoration,” “Healing,” “Hope.” There are other people behind it, groaning and clapping and screaming intermittently. Men.

You walk towards the wall, to sift yourself out of the grain of road.

“God will change your heart if you allow him. God can change anybody, any situation, at any time. Your situation can never be forever.”

His crying voice drools over the edge of the thick wall and touches the rim of the ear you’ve pressed against it. You conclude that it is a church.

“Even if you die here, this is not your forever. Even if you die.”

Before you peel your body away from the thick wall, chase its height with your eyes, and see the sign that says: MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON.

Now, understand what you’ve just done. You’ve held your head to the heartbeat of danger, found hope unscathed in the palm of grief.

[All the sentences behind this wall. All the stories, clipped at the jaw.]

Nobody has to tell you to walk away.


Read the rest of the essay in the Crime Issue.