Go without warning

to the inmate’s cell.

Force him to the floor

(with smaller inmates

four of you will do).

Place phone books

across his thighs and abdomen.

Raise your batons shoulder-high

(higher if he’s whimpering or calling out),

then bring them down

and watch the pages fly–

each scattering

will bring you closer to his skin.

Take note

that sounds and sweat

and constant motion

do not close your ears

to your superior. He

will slow you down

before bruising can begin:

the skill in this

is knowing when to stop.

“Excerpt, Correctional Officers’ Training Manual” is an honorable mention winner in the 2001 Independent poetry contest.