the convict

the security guard is first
a duty-bound woman
with impeccable posture
and no use for pleasantries

next, the red-bearded convict
bed-bound in white sheets,
a blue-scrubbed orderly
pushing and pulling his gurney

the elevator sags slightly
under their wordless weight,
teetering by hidden bands,
with space still for one more

I glance at the orderly, the guard
and take a short step backward
politely declining to join them
with a courteous smile

the convict looks to me
as the metallic doors strain across–
tattooed arms crossed calmly
weary eyes, without malice:

no stranger to judgement