New Work from the Norfolk City Jail Project/Women’s Block


Through the Glass (after Mona Kuhn, Mirage, 2012)


Who is this woman I see?

Sensing her hesitation as she

covers her breast.

Thinking to herself, “Damn, I hope

I’m not compared to any of the rest.”

As she stands there vulnerable

as can be.

Only now does she begin to question

if her body is meant to be seen.

She chose to come here and give

him a try

because the other guy abused her

and made her cry.

She’s this far in with nowhere

else to go.

Thinking, “All right, with my next step

it’s time to give him a show.”

Who is this woman I see?

Looking through the glass, she

could just be me.

Becca Raye



The Pain Surrounds Me

I am consumed by my mistakes. Insanity motivates my impulsive actions. I’m trying to be strong, but all I feel is weak. Trying to consume my time with distractions. The laughter of my kids feel so very far away. Destruction of my happiness is all I see throughout the day. Disassociation of my emotions. Because it hurts too much to feel. What’s my diagnosis, again? I ask as I swallow another pill. I’m looking for something, anything to fill this void I feel so deep. Why do I feel so empty? Why can’t I be enough, the one who fulfills me? My heart sinks instantly the moment I open my eyes. Where are you, God? I scream. Can you even hear me? You say all you need from me is to fear thee. Can’t you see, though, how my heart if breaking? Can’t you feel, though, how my faith is shaken? I know I chose the path I am on. But where was your warning all along? So you provide a way out? Then why do I feel stuck? Where are you, Almighty, while I am shit out of luck? Consumed by the chaos I can’t comprehend. I feel conflicted by anger, anxiety, anguish. Confusion is my closest companion. Peace is my most distant friend. Annoyance at the ulterior motives of others and of my own self-righteousness. Lacking assurance of a future I can’t see. Just wanting to break away. Crowing to be free. My mistakes and desires play over again in my mind. My own personal imprisonment of lost time.

Ashlee Marsh


A Memory to Cherish (after Max Liebermann, Bathers on the Beach at Schevingen, 1897)

It’s a beautiful day. The sky looks like an array of colors like purple, mauve, white, swirled all together to give out such a serenity and peace that will warm your heart to a sunshine smile to put away as a treasure in your heart. What I see is a private beach, children playing in the water to where you can hear the laughter of all through the moves of the waves. There is an older man built the size of a mountain holding a cane, wearing long pants, jacket, and a perfect brown hat that fits him perfectly. You see the man in the picture is a father spending as much time as possible with his two sons to know they will have memories to cherish of their time with their dad. You see you can’t see me in this picture, for I am behind them, painting this picture in my brain to share a memory of a man who loves his sons with every breath, taking in to exhale the Lord above gave him another day to make a memory to cherish in our hearts. This picture gives out courage, strength, determination, love, and most importantly if you could be there, you would see all that I see. Look past the children to see the ocean is never ending, eternity to life. Thank for you a memory to cherish, my dearest true love.

Loreen Pendergrass



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