By conservative estimates, there are currently enough wrongfully convicted people in prison in the United States to fill a football stadium.
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He says, “I know your tricks, old woman.
You’re trying to starve me.”
Because he has forgotten, again,
that he has eaten.
But this morning, like every morning
for sixty years, she has warmed
his plate in the oven before loading it
with bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease
(skillet-flipped so spatula won’t bruise yolk),
and slow-cooked hominy grits gotten from
farmer friends. She has refilled his coffee cup
and stood over him in prayer:
“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts . . .”
Every morning for sixty years
she has prepared this morning meal,
preferring cereal, or nothing, for herself.
Now, still seated at the scene,
with bits of egg on his face,
he insists she is trying to murder him.
To prove her love, she has started
taking Polaroids. “Here,” she says.
“This is you one hour ago eating breakfast.”
He starts to sob. His big belly shakes
from sobbing. Which makes her start
sobbing too. She knows, had he been himself,
he would have thought to say, “Why,
this looks just like yesterday.”
Had he, for one second, been himself,
he would have said, “Why,
that’s not me at all.”
Matthew Deshe Cashion