In Florence, Alabama,

the other day,

a corrections officer ran away

from her job and her home

and the life that she’d known

with her paycheck in hand

and a man in her charge

the sheriff described as

dangerous—and armed.

 

She worked in corrections

for seventeen years,

a steady, reliable, valued employee.

He was charged with capital murder,

facing a death sentence,

held without bail,

and late last week

they walked out of the jail.


No one has seen them.

Nobody knows where they are

and the sheriff in Florence

is shaking his head.

We’re all still in shock;

no one saw this coming, he said,

 

The men at the jail

tell a whole different tale.

It was common knowledge,

the prisoners maintain.

Hardly a secret, 

and jailhouse scuttlebutt notwithstanding,

the prisoners report

it was months in the planning.

 

 

There are BOLOs and bulletins

 and "if you've seen this man..."

and the sheriff in Florence

just can't understand,

but I think he gave her

what no one else had;

the shape of a heart

in the palm of her hand.

 

A few days on the run,

and they’ll turn on each other.

I was helpless, she’ll say,

he'll blame the whole thing

on her

and part of me

just wants to take her

and shake her

and ask, not so nicely,

what’s wrong with you, girl

 

But a part I deny

or say that I've lost;

a part that I hide

and the one that still hurts—

the one that is waiting

and shaped like a heart—

 

hopes against hope

they might make it work.

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