Dreams Denied Inside Prison Walls / The Little Boy Hides from the Ugly Man - Craig McVay

Dreams Denied Inside Prison Walls

No one sees 

the pink arms 

of sun-laughing girls 

in red convertibles


past the glaring 

razor wire 

on top of the bulwark.


No girls

for guilty arms 

but tattooed babes 


shedding shirts 

and pants

under the muscled sleeves 

of rippling gray tee-shirts.

The Little Boy Hides from the Ugly Man

Hope settles 

like a summer peach   

in the little boy's stomach 

as he dives under the bed.  


The man snarls and tears 

through the shorts and tee-shirts 

on the floor of the boy's closet. His face

gnarls like the cane he squeezes.


Foolish as a five-year-old can be, 

the little boy laughs. Mortal laughter. 

Wrenched by his arm, he begins to cry 

before the fire starts to dance on his red back. 


The man does not smell his own ugly stink.


The boy cries too hard to ask if his mother 

will ever put a stop to this.



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About the Author

CRAIG McVAY comes from Lafayette, Indiana, and has lived most of his adult life in Columbus, Ohio.

His degrees are in Classics and English, both of which he has taught in schools, community colleges, universities, and prisons.

His poetry and fiction have appeared in print and online including Avatar Review, Blue Unicorn, Classical Bulletin, Grey Sparrow, Icon, and other journal and books.