That is my number till I pass away to heaven
It belongs to me
the thirty-nine thousand twenty-first man
to be sentenced and sent away from D.C.
Never mind my name
I now go by that number
Lost in a dreamless federal slumber
And even when I wake
and walk back through those penitentiary gates
that number will remain
never to be given to another man again
It belongs to me
and as long as I wear it I’ll never be free


  1. LC, thank you for your poem. It reminds me of the story Les Miserables and the protagonist, Jean Valjean. As an incarcerated man, he’s known by his number, and he has a hard time shaking that once he’s served his time and gotten released. I hope you’ll find the same redemption story when you’re released.

  2. LC, it is such a tradegy that you have lost your identity and have been stripped of who you are. Thank you for taking the time to write such an incredible poem. Please keep writing and finding solace in your poems. -Pat

  3. Barbara Moffet says

    This is very cleverly written and seems from the heart. I am sure it’s hard to forget about that number, but we should remember that we each have a name too, and a heart and a soul. I hope people will see those instead of that number when they look at LC.

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