June 21, 2004
The Response Paper
The speaker in Judith Clark's poem "After My Arrest" is torn away from her daughter and her freedom when she is thrown in jail. She no longer has the unadorned "everyday/pieces" (lines 1-2) or things that we take for granted. The speaker does not even have the simple freedom of wearing her favorite " bright pink Indian shirt" (line 3). She loses the ability to truly be a mother to her only child, her daughter. She is separated from everything and everyone she loves by a fifteen-foot chain linked fence.
My mother, Cynthia, has been isolated from everyone she loves for fourteen years. My mom is also in prison just like the speaker in the poem. I remember each time I have visited her like it was yesterday. Visitors are only allowed on Saturday and Sunday for a maximum of six hours each day.
There are always guards watching over you and they only allow you to embrace in the very beginning and the very end of the visit. Even though six hours may seem like a long time, the truth is it goes by extremely fast when my mother's soft dainty hand is wrapped around mine and her other hand is playing with a lock of my blonde hair. Usually, the two of us end up laughing so hard we drive ourselves to tears, and for that brief moment we forget about the guards that are watching over the room and the two metal fences that stare at us from outside the window.
Unfortunately, since I live in New Jersey with my Uncle Allen (my mother's brother) and my mom is incarcerated in California, I do not get to see her as much as I would like to.