Beyond the Fence

Today’s guest post is from Truth Be Told volunteer and supporter, Wendi Romero:

Wendi Romero

Last year, I had the profound privilege of attending a Truth Be Told graduation at Hilltop Prison.  I was a changed woman when I walked out of those prison gates that day. At the time, I was at a crossing in my own life, no different than some of the situations these incarcerated women found themselves in when they lived freely in the world, enjoying the same freedom we still do. There was no longer a doubt in my mind about the course of action I would have to take to protect an innocent child. Informed by what I heard from the women’s experiences, I knew what I had to do.

So I went home the next day and did it.

Yesterday, I was invited again by Carol to return to Hilltop Prison as a special guest, this time to attend a Truth Be Told class. While we waited to enter the gates, the five of us who rode together were led in prayer by Nathalie. This poem grew out of the prayer we offered in our small circle … beyond the fence.

Beyond The Fence
(for the women at Hilltop Prison)

You used to live
in my neighborhood,
or perhaps you
sat in the desk
across the aisle
in elementary school.
You might even
be my sister.
I knew you
when you were
just a girl,
and pig-tailed,
so much life
yet to be lived.
How did it
come to this …
you and I,
living in a world
separated by
barbed and twisted wire;
heavy gates,
guarded and
locked shut.
on one side
and women
on the other;
this great divide
of weaved steel,
a seemingly
insurmountable barrier
between us.
Even so,
that could never
stop me from reaching
beyond the fence
where you now live –
to help you
remember that
you were born
to be free.
We were given
the same spirit.
What brings
you and I together
is stronger than
any cause
for separation.
You may have
lost your way,
but no matter
what side of the
fence you’re on,
your spirit has never
lost its wings.
You were born to fly.

Wendi Romero

Wendi Romero is a lover of nature, travel, art, and photography. She grew up in rural Southwest Louisiana, where the culture is still predominantly French. She is a graduate of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA. There, she further developed her craft of creative writing and poetry under the tutelage of renowned poet, art critic, and photography historian, Dr. John Wood. Her first poem was published in 2008 inLISTEN, a publication for Spiritual Directors International. This is the poet’s first compilation of her work, but not her last. She and her husband live near the lush oak and pecan groves of Grand Coteau, LA. Visit her website and learn more about her book, Pilgrimage to Self: Leaving, Walking, Returning.


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