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by Lorelei Kay


Water scented with chlorine
swirl around arms, legs, and thighs
in the Jacuzzi at 24-Hour Fitness,
as we exchange names.

I ask, “Just like the book?”  His
dark head of hair bobs up and down.
Eager to know more, I tease, “Have
you memorized the whole thing?”

“No,” he grins, continues,
My father chose my name.
Though raised Christian, he
converted to Islam in prison.”

I’ve heard of inmates kicking drugs
in prison, heard of inmates finding Jesus
in prison. But finding Allah in prison is
a new thought—and a bit unsettling.

The prison’s mantra probably isn’t,
“Go to prison—find a new God.” What
was the catalyst for change? Longing for
a new God? Rebelling against an old one?

The ramifications float around like
boats in a rough sea, stirring up
questions, and bumping into each
of our own perceptions of God.

I ponder my own faith. Would it sustain
me if I were locked up in a cell? Or would
I, too, climb aboard a whole new religion—
if it could save me from drowning.



Lorelei Kay became hooked on poetry when her dad helped her write her first poem. She later attended Brigham Young University on a scholarship in journalism. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, online publications, and magazines. She also won the 2021 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Contest with her poem, Straightening Flower Fields. Lorelei has served has served as a poetry judge for the California Writers Club Literary Review, on the Blue Ribbon Judging Panel for Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, as a poetry judge for the California Writers Club Literary Review, on the board of the Mohahve Historical Society, and also on the board of the High Desert Branch of The California Writers Club.