Honey Bunning

by Dmitra Gideon Issue: Spring/Summer 2021

Note: Italicized text was written by Andre Sheffield, 14, and Elord Revolte, 17, both killed while incarcerated in 2015. 
On any given night that year, 47,000 children were incarcerated in the United States.

He waited a day. A day in his cell after 
the other children beat him. The guards 
paid them in sweets to erase themselves 
into and against each other, at least 
twelve of them – his chest blooming 
in the shape of their feet. Privilege man / 
gilty father / ask the lord come fight 
the weather /
Alone in his cell he waited 
for the nurse, he asked for help, told them 
when he felt his ribs fold in on themselves, 
felt his lungs wrap his sternum, empty. 
He told them and waited. gilty man 
don’t say you matter/
 He swallowed his teeth; 
they snagged in the muscle of his heart, plasma 
and water in his throat. Alone he became an earthquake; 
his eyes bridges, collapsing. speak the evil you a sinner / 
Where he grabbed at the air, it thickened, until 
his fingers wrapped around it. A ladder. Alone 
he climbed from his skin, up. When his hands 
gave out, he let go midair, threw his head back, 
opened his mouth, swallowed. son of god I’m just 
a brother.
By the time they arrived, a day late, 
there was no cell, no body. Just an empty space 
in the shape of forgetting.

this is the last time. I put it on God.

Found Text Sources

Burch, Audra D.S., and Carol Marbin Miller. “Cause of Death: ‘Lack of Empathy.’ Medical Neglect in Florida’s Juvenile Justice.” Miami Herald, 10 October 2017. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article
177887231.html
Charles, Jacqueline, and Carol Marbin Miller. “Slain Teen’s Dad: They Took Him Alive, Gave me back a Corpse.” Miami Herald, 3 September 2015. https://www. miamiherald.com/news/local/community/Miami-dade/article33868359.html?
referrer=justicewire.
Penney, Veronica, and Jay Weaver. “Ex-Guard at Juvenile Lockup Innocent of Orchestrating Fatal Beating of Teen.” Miami Herald, 23 July 2019. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article232583222.html
 



Dmitra Gideon

Dmitra Gideon is a writer, educator, and activist living in Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of the Chatham University MFA Program, Dmitra teaches literary arts at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School and facilitates writing workshops for Words Without Walls and Write Pittsburgh, among others. Their work has previously appeared in PANK Magazine, The Fourth River Literary Journal, and Pink Panther Magazine