Ten Days To Go


Clocks haven't ticked
since the digital age kicked in
seconds no longer announce their passing
but often over the past fifteen months 
I have heard my body ticking
those moments away

those long, long moments
sixty seconds makes a minute
while sixty minutes makes an eternity
many eternities have since retreated
leaving just thirteen thousand
minutes increasing in speed
until you return home 

fifteen months ago
you entered those gates
a sickly child, a crippled soul
hunched and shuffling, with hooded eyes
downcast, pinned pupils hidden
clothed in filthy ribboned rags
veins flat beneath thin tracks
wrecked body, wrenched soul

somewhere, deep within
a child was struggling to rise
and somehow, in those grey corridors,
behind the barbed metal, the locks and the bars
you found him, and he rose again
growing into a fine man
my beautiful son

only ten days to go
and I will stretch my arms towards you 
as you walk through those prison gates

the clock in my heart has been ticking
while I wrote these badly formed lines
and it's ticked its way down to nine

o                o                o
n                n                n
l                l                l
y                y                y

n                n                n
i                i                i
n                n                n
e                e                e

d                d     
a                a     
a                y     
s                s



© Jane Paterson Basil


5 thoughts on “Ten Days To Go

    1. We’ll have to play it by ear, because he’ll be in shock. We’ll definitely have a family party, but not until he’s ready. He’s only coming home until there’s a space in the halfway house he’s been accepted at, then he’ll be about 45 miles (73 kilometers) from us. He has been on the sick since he left school, because of his Asperghers, but has now decided that he’s perfectly fit to work, so he’s going to sign on for work, and try and get whatever job he can, with the backing of an organization which exists to get ex-prisoners into employment.
      Paul’s drug habit began 14 years ago when he was 13. He’s been clean from heroin for 15 months, and off Methadone since last November, but it’s still early days, and Laura is out there. She’ll want him back, and although I thought it wasn’t possible, she’s stepped up her using. I’ve never seen her so ruthless. Because the man she stabbed didn’t need hospital treatment, and refused to make a statement against her, the police aren’t doing anything about the stabbing. So she’s at large.
      I just want to hug my son, and take him to a desert island where we can be safe together. I’d have to take my two older daughters, their husbands and my grandchildren too – and my laptop…


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