21

I was 21
Sent to jail for not paying fines
motorcycle related charges
too fast, too loud,
riding a dangerous machine
they were determined to
put me ‘in the system’
& they did
I got 5 days
Went in Friday afternoon
in a queue for the shower
The guy in front says:
wot y’in for?
& laughs when I tell
he was a burglar
the guy behind a murderer
killed a man over an ice cream route
cos there’s big money in this
that quietened me down some.
Sat in a cell over the weekend
telling tall tales, learning new
an hour a day in a circle walk
rolling cigarettes
drawing slow breaths
the sun creeping over
stone grey high walls
& over thinking
If this guy asks me
for my dessert
He’s got it.
they let me go
on the Monday
with a train ticket
and a cheque for cash
for almost the fines
I hadn’t paid
being young
& time of no issue
I thought I’d gained
but it took years
for the system
to forget about me.
If they ever have.

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