Julia Mallory is the author of six books, including two children’s books. Her latest book Survivor's Guilt, is an archive of survivorship that chronicles generational grief through photographs, poetry, and prose. In addition, she is the founder of the creative brand, Black Mermaids, serves as the Senior Poetry Editor for Raising Mothers, and hosts the Stop Shrinking Socialcast. Find her at www.thejuliamallory.com or on Twitter and Instagram @thejuliamallory.
I have been visiting prisons as long as I can remember and have lost count of the number of times my picture may have been taped to the wall of a cell. Visits Upstate meant early morning departures on the weekends. Trips to the County meant mostly middle of the day and evenings. Geography lessons of heartache experienced through small towns and cartographies of captivity. Same waiting spaces. Same security wanding and invasions. Folding your arms over your underwire is supposed to silence the screeching of the hand-held metal detector. Some correctional officers invested in showing that you are just another number attached to the number of someone deemed less than human.