Outside Bucks County Jail (A Jailhouse Sestina) by Rio Jones

Outside Bucks County Jail (A Jailhouse Sestina)

After we moved from the city, laughing hard
was a quest, and my older brother had a car.
From the driveway we’d take the farm roads,
smoke in any forest or field we could find,
break open chicken coops for hatred of jails
and chew tall grass because it felt right.

Friendship as we knew it was hard to find –
we needed rebels with apartments and cars
who likewise considered school a jail.
You met one who said it wouldn’t be hard
to find his new place, just across the road
from Boot-Mart, a yellow ranch on the right.

There wasn’t much along those farm roads:
grass, a few twists and turns, a county jail,
a guy’s house that at first was hard to find,
but, once there, was quite close and not hard
to find again, and again. I’d wait in your car
for hours. I learned to bring paper and write.

I’d hide under clothes in the back of your car
at each stop, hear the window squeal hard,
change jingle if that’s all the addicts could find.
It was then I learned the loneliness of roads
that wind, valleys that hold people like jails
where one attempt is the escapists’ only rite.

Months later, in Dad’s backyard frozen hard,
he faced the house and told me you’re in jail –
that he’d never cover the fortune you were fined.
That summer night you escaped we rode
in circles blasting old cassettes in my car.
Bringing you to the pawn shops wasn’t right,

but I’d forgotten your crimes – I saw how jail
quieted you. I knew I should keep away, find
new brothers, focus on sports and study hard.
But, at last, it was you who needed me (my car)
for an evening cruise out to the farm roads
to turn yourself in. It’s smart, forget right.

There’s no more girls or harder drugs to find
We’ll take the farm road and turn right.
At the jail. For a long time we will wait in my car.

@2015 Rio Jones


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Rio Jones work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Poetry.org and Aplus.com. he is currently writing from the town of Nahuala, Guatemala.


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