Staying Strong

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed


By: Caitlin Adams

We forge the strength of our friendship,
in the rough climes of Lou and death row.
Both of us aware of the terrain and the odds.
The terrain treacherous and the odds not in our favor.

Staying strong means staying in the moment,
the here and now,
using, celebrating, cherishing, struggling with,
each and every precious breath,
each and every setback,
each and every visit,
each and every card,
each and every smile,
each and every tear.
Staying strong means bearing with
all that the precious present brings.

I remember some time ago
when I realized that we were becoming friends,
thinking, how did this happen?
For heaven's sake, I'm dying.
He knows that too.
How can I possibly ask this of him?
But, I did ask and,
I did say please walk away
if at any point this becomes too much.
I've kept repeating the "walk away" part.
Apparently, he's not walking away
Neither am I.
We just keep walking through separately, together.
Living strong.
Living fiercely.
Bearing witness with and for each other.
Bearing.
Witnessing.
Listening.
Somehow following some unwritten script
neither of us is privy to but following,
somehow knowing.