Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

Cries of the Heart

by Tom Brown

Posted on August 3, 2015 by Chales Tom Brown


As a teacher’s aide in the Arizona prison system, I helped students to prepare for their GED essay requirement. To prepare for this, they were given the format and the topic for their essay One of the topics was “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” and I assumed that most would be wishes to get out of prison or something of that nature. Instead, many were cries of the heart…cries to love and be loved.

One essay stated, “If I could have one wish, I would wish for a letter from my mother. She hasn’t written to me in years, and it would mean so much to me to get a letter from her.”

Another inmate had a two-year-old daughter who was with foster parents, and he declared that his wish would be to hear his daughter on the phone. I told him that she wouldn’t be able to say much at the age of two, and he replied, “I just want to hear the sound of her voice.”

As I read these essays, I was reminded that we never lose our deep basic need to connect with the soulfulness of each other’s heart. Each of us has a story to tell, and we’re traveling our personal road of transformation. Listening to the stories of others and the cries of their hearts is a kind of water that breaks the fever of our isolation. If we listen closely enough, we are soothed into remembering our common name.

I believe that when we express our truth, it releases light and warmth. It’s the way our spirit shines. Those essay writers were my medicine. And I was theirs. We are members of a broken whole. And we will heal…a stitch, a song, a cry at a time.

From The Outside

Latest Issue: 92