California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations: Dial 2 for Inmate Information

By Jeff Knorr

Featured art: Winter Dreaming of Spring by Nancy Dick, Norman Calkanic, Kate Goreman, Patty Mitchell, and David Dewey 

What information could you possibly deliver—

            that he’s safe, that the kite he put in

                        for the GED has come through.


If you know the party’s extension you wish

            to speak to, you may dial it at any time.


To dial his reference number

            and have a phone ring in his cell.


Otherwise hold for a representative—


            Information, Officer Medeiros speaking.


Yes, Officer Medeiros, can you wander

over to dorm C, bed 211 

and check on my son for me?


Can you tell me what he’s been fed the last two weeks?

            Can you check if the light flickering

                        above his bed at all hours has been fixed,


replaced with a new bulb?

            Instead I ask, is he allowed to

                        receive packages yet, new books?


When Medeiros says yes, I hang up

            go to Acces SecurePak, order

                        soups, chips, cheese, everything


you need for a spread, throw in

            a pair of sunglasses.  I go downstairs

                        for a beer and cook the dog an egg.


Jeff Knorr is the author of four books of poetry, including The Color of a New Country, The Third Body, Keeper, and Standing Up to the Day. Jeff was the Poet Laureate for the city and county of Sacramento from 2012-2016. He lives in Sacramento, California and is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Sacramento City College.


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