Bad news calls early, ringing urgently, getting her out of bed. She knows before she picks up the receiver (Really, she’s known all along. She is not a fool), but still it comes at her like a freight train as she listens to the voice on the other end of the line tell her a story, the kind of story she would read in the afternoon newspaper, the kind of story she would read and wonder about, puzzling out what had gone wrong in other people’s lives. Listening, she steadies her trembling hand by tracing a finger around a photograph on the dresser. Dust collects beneath her finger. Memory floods her carrying her back to the day she took the photograph, a happy moment preserved. She searches the face in the photograph, tracing the halo of hair like a blown dandelion and wonders what went wrong.
Inspiration: The United States has the highest prison population in the world. Inmates are someones son or daughter.