Author’s note: Frog Gravy is a depiction of daily life during incarceration in Kentucky, in 2008 and 2009, first in jails and then in prison, and is reconstructed from my notes.
This post is from prison.
Names have been changed, except for the teacher’s name and the name Columbus Dorsey in this post. My nickname in prison was Bird Lady.
Frog Gravy contains graphic language.
PeWee (pronounced Pee Wee) Valley Women’s Penitentiary near Louisville, KY, 5-4-09
Last night, officers woke three Ridgeview inmates at 2 AM, ordered them to pack their belongings, and then shipped them to Otter Creek, the privately owned prison in Appalachia, Pike County, eastern Kentucky. Inmates are loaded and transported like slaughter cows in the middle of the night. This way, families have no advance notice.
Two of the women were enrolled in college courses on scholarship, and were one exam shy of course completion.
Rhonda was my classmate in Horticulture. I had tutored Ashley, who had never completed the tenth grade, through perfect squares and complex polynomials in Algebra.
Fearful that I may be in the next Otter Creek shipment, I decide to walk to school in the morning to see if I am still enrolled.
As I leave the dorm, Rochelle says, “Bird Lady. Your birds is waitin’ on you.”
“I know. Thank you,” I say.
Twenty-five pairs of black liquid eyes watch my every move. They recognize my face, hat or no hat, pony tail or not., and they follow me and only me. Fussing and chirping, they dive-fly in front of me, reading my kindness for the weakness that it always is.
I toss them some bread when the officer is not looking. Read the rest of this entry »