The Day My Mom Went to Jail

Published by: Olivia

The Day My Mom Went to Jail

Young girl, 17 years old

The day my mom went to jail
was the first time I had sex.
It was the day I turned 15
I gave in because I was depressed.

The day I decided to let my life go
I began to walk the streets,
to collect extortions and steal,
I had to help my siblings.

The day I went to visit my mom
I didn’t want her to realize what was going on.
“I thought you were going to be a better daughter.”
“I thought you were going to be with me.”

The day they killed my aunt,
they cut her up, they tortured her
I decided to join, too
So I could die like her

The day I got locked up,
I realized all my mom had suffered.
I regretted having turned to the streets.
Now not even her love can save me.


My Enemy

published by: Olivia

My Enemy 
young woman, 18 years old

My name is hate.
I live in your heart and in your mind.
I was born out of bitterness,
when you offered friendship
and your friends turned on you.

My last name is Black.
My mother is Fury.
My father is Bitterness.
My sister is Violence.
When you meet my family
you’ll feel scared,
you’ll be trapped.

I’ll give you the urge to kill.
I’ll make you think only in the bad things that happened to you.
I’ll force you to destroy yourself.
I’ll make you suffer.
I’ll be satisfied and proud when you kill yourself
because I will have won.

Don’t let me into your heart,
but when I enter
you can destroy me by thinking about someone you loved
you can destroy me by being intelligent and understanding.

When you find love within yourself, I will disappear.

What Else Could I Do?

Published by: Olivia

A recurring theme in conversations with the girls is revenge.  Many have experienced the loss of their loved ones, partners and friends, and have expressed their desire to let out all of the pain, suffering, and anger that they feel when confronted with violent death.  This young girl writes about her reaction to the turture and murder of her beloved aunt.

What else could I do?

Young girl, 17 years old

It feels awful knowing you can’t do anything.
Seeing my grandmother cry for her daughter
Seeing my mother, my cousins, when we buried her
I did her makeup for the wake
her blood was the same as my blood

That they sent him with a meal-ticket to prison while my aunt was 9 feet under the ground?  That wasn’t good enough for me.

I couldn’t resist the urge take revenge
I knew who had done it, so i did the same to him
It made me feel good.  Afterwards I felt more peace
I got it all out.  Neither him nor her alive.
At least he wouldn’t be laughing for having made a good kill

The Ocean and The Sky

Published By: Olivia

When this young woman was reading me this poem, she began to laugh so hard that she couldn’t stop.   She told me that she gave it to a guard who she liked, who had inspired her to write.  When I asked her why, she told me that he reminds her of a guy who she dated on the outside.  These incarcerated girls want to live their adolescence, (they want to fall in love and experiment and go out with their friends) and they are aware that on the inside it´s impossible.  In this poem, she says that the distance between she and he is the same as the distance between the ocean and the sky.


The Ocean and The Sky

Young Woman, 19 years old

One fresh morning like any other

Something beautiful happened to me when I looked around

I bumped into a beautiful gaze, sweet and tender

One of those gazes that with just one someone can rob your heart

A brilliant and incomparable gaze

It was one of those unique gazes

Having it close hipnotizes you and makes you forget everyone and everything

A glance that is hard to come by but when you find it

You try to save it

Like something important and valuable for you

And seeking it and not finding it

Makes you desperate and casts a spell on you

Because it is one of those glances where time doesn’t exist

Only the moment in which you can contemplate it


That gaze reflects your little eyes

In that angelical face

You look so handsome, so sweet and sincere

Like few

I would love to lose myself in your gaze

drown in a kiss from your delicious red lips

cover myself with your arms and find refuge in your chest

but I know that that will never happen

it’s just as impossible as water combining with fire,

the ocean with the sky,

it’s like touching the stars with the tips of my fingers


you are so sacred for me

that I don’t even have to touch you

and not because I don’t want to

but because I shouldn’t


And so for me you will always be

An unreachable love

A long-distance love

An unrequited love

A platonic love


I will be the ocean and you the sky

Her Sadness

Published by: Olivia

This young woman wrote about  her grandmother´s pain for having a child locked up, her pain for not being able to hug her or give her advice or say “I love you.”   Like many other girls, she feels tremendous guilt for the suffering of her grandmother, and remorse because she failed the person who had given her “everything for nothing,” who taught her good from bad.  “I want to pay her back for all the time she had to come see me here.”

Her Sadness

 young woman, 18 years old

I have seen her sitting, crying in her stand, asking God to give me wisdom.  I have seen her telling people that despite what gossipers say I am her daughter.  I have seen her imagining me free with a new life, with new goals.  I have seen her remembering the past, when I came from school to be with her in the stand.  I have seen her looking at my pictures and saying she never imagined her daughter would end up in a place like this.  I have seen her looking at my dolls and remembering when I was little.  I have seen her trying to be strong when she sees my things in boxes, waiting for the day I touch them again.  I have seen her making the food that she used to make me, (sometimes I ate it all and didn’t leave her anything).  Now she eats alone.  I have seen her alone in the house, coming home only to eat and sleep.  And her sadness is my sadness.


Without Being Able To Say It

Published by: Olivia

Beginning to talk today with a young woman, she asked me: “Why do you fall in love with your best friend?”  She told me that when she had the opportunity to tell him on the outside, she didn’t do it, and now on the inside she only thinks of him and what could have been.  The following poem touches many of us who in some moment in our lives did not dare to say “I love you.”

Without Being Able To Say It

Youth, 19-years-old


Of thinking about what cannot happen

Something exciting and disappointing


Constant scenes of a fantasy

Of being able to say (in happiness)

How much I could have loved him


I am daring.

He is sincere.

And in this heart an “I love you” doesn’t fit


This confinement is my exile

Of a love

That I guard in silence


Lost on the moon

Without any answer

Without what I lost, or never had

Without what I dreamed

Without that which will never become reality


This kills me inside

Always thought and never said

Always yearning

Always loved

Always locked up, and in the end forgotten…





The young women we work with don’t suffer from a lack of words or stories. They have much to tell and a great need to be listened to. Often it’s hard for them to focus on just one idea or choose few words to describe a feeling or an experience. So, we experimented with Haiku, a very simple style of Japanese poetry. It only has three lines; the first has 5 syllables, the second has 7 and the third has 5.

Here are three haikus about love by one of the young women. [Note: in translating the poems to English, they lost their original number of syllables. To see the original poems, click here.]


I’m not hungry
but I have a strong thirst
for you my love.


You are
an ugly and hateful man
but I love you.


I like you a lot
because you are like
a sweet apple.