Photo by Denis Oliveira on Unsplash

It’s Not You. It’s Me.

Loving a prisoner

Natalie Jeanne Maddy
4 min readNov 22, 2023


“There is no great Hell than to be a prisoner…”
— Ben Jonson

you’re the one behind bars,
but it’s me who is a prisoner

warm tears kiss my cheeks nightly
because you aren’t here to do just that,
and i hug myself tightly in a tiny ball until i fall asleep
because i crave your touch, your embrace, YOU,
but no one can touch me but you
and i guess now me, too

i await your calls,
no matter how many hours pass me by like clouds on an otherwise clear day,
no matter how many details of my life slip through my fingers as i forget what’s even important anymore by the time you call,
no matter what i could be doing instead of waiting to just hear your goddamn voice,
no matter how much money it costs to even speak to you,
even if it’s just for a few minutes

but you know what?
those two minute phone calls shred my heart to pieces i can’t explain
but only feel,
because it’s a reminder that you’re the one who has to call me,
and no matter what i need to tell you,
i can only wait patiently for you to be free enough to call me,
and sometimes we only have time for an “I love you.”
that’s it…

we have two hours every week allotted to chat and hug and share two kisses,
that’s it…

you know by now,
i know more cat more than i even know you —
her move, her meow, her schedule, her cuddles, her breaths, her stares

i grieved alone once, twice, three times, four times,
all because you were behind bars,
and life goes on without you,
and apparently, so does death

and i mask my true feelings around anyone close to me except you,
because i just don’t want to explain…



Natalie Jeanne Maddy

I try to rouse others to find their truths by writing about my own!💋Yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy teacher. Author of 5 books — thriller, healing, poetry.