The Tower Journal

Douglas Cole


Every moment between these walls
I flinch at crows dawn-cawing
apples falling through leaves
branches scraping the rooftop
with someone sleeping beside me
in some other fabric of stone
that creeps up the nails of my fingers
and into my light-deprived skin
the walls within walls I live within
the layers of muscle I’ve trained
by blind hours in solitary motion
in a two foot by two foot room
going nowhere in bones wrapped
in winter fire built out of need
what can I tell you about
the glowing walls of mystery
you who can only go so far
restricted by visiting hours
and institutional rules of contact
other than a note left after the fact
I say I am here and I am free
how else to give this to you
an answer for why and how
I can speak quietly into your ear
when you arrive and find nothing
but an empty cell

Copyright © 2018 Douglas Cole

Douglas Cole has published four collections of poetry and a novella. His work appears in anthologies such as Best New Writing, Bully Anthology, and Coming Off The Line as well as journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Chiron, The Galway Review, Red Rock Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Slipstream. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and Best of the Net, and has received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry, judged by T.R. Hummer; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; First Prize in the “Picture Worth 500 Words” from Tattoo Highway. His website is

The Tower Journal
Summer  2018