Photography © Edward S. Gault


The Proposal

Cheryl, my wife, wore a blue dress with
with sunflowers on it
The corrections officer shouted,
“HUGS ONLY, INMATE!” when she
kissed me on my lips
It was more action than the visitation
room had seen in ages

“The neighbors,” Cheryl told me,
“are growing their bushes over the
property line again”
More useless information
I have been in this prison for six years
now and haven’t thought about
yard maintenance much
A young man, maybe twenty two,
started crying at the table next to us
over some news from his girlfriend

My wife’s legs have always been
It had been so long since I’d felt them
I placed my hand under the table and
caressed her leg in the middle of her
conversation about speaking to the
HOA about our neighbor’s
overgrown bushes
She stopped speaking and smiled

After some commotion from the
crying young man next to me he
dropped down to one knee next
to the table
the CO shouted
He was proposing right there in
the middle of the visitation room
What the hell did he think this was?
“I love you,” the girlfriend said,
“but, I can’t.
I just can’t”

The girlfriend grabbed her purse
and headed towards the exit
Screaming and flailing at this point,
the young man went after her
and almost walked right through the
visitor room exit door
The CO grabbed the young man by one
arm then the other and threw him to
the ground

The CO called for backup and the two
officers escorted the young man
to isolation
Cheryl said, “well I better be going”


Shawn Hatfield is a writer, composer, editor and publisher from Hamilton, Va. Influenced by writers like Charles Bukowski, David Foster Wallace, and David Lynch, he often explores strange and alternate realities. Hatfield released his first book of poetry, Waking Up Is a Disgusting Habit, in 2016 and is currently working on his first novel.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine arts photographer living in Brighton, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in Oddball Magazine, Spectrum, Wilderness House Literary Review, Interlude, Currents, and Encore.