If I were cut open shame would spill out.
If a vein was opened I would bleed shame
he said.
But mostly he said, I’m sorry,
I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I must admit, it didn’t
klick like valve sounds from the heart to me.  

But a woman listening sobbed uncontrollably,
racked with despair as if possessed.
Later she told him her story.
As a child and teenager, she was molested,
molested over and over for years.
No one believed her. They believed
her brother’s outrageous fabrications,
his resolute denial.    

She told the prisoner, I need to hear I’m sorry
from someone who won’t say it
and you say I’m sorry to someone
who can’t hear it. That’s what overwhelms me:
this unending spite, this bitter sorrow.