Song:  Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth & Emeli Sandé

Note: Sankofa is a west African adinkra symbol that means to “go back and fetch it,” or retrieve what was left behind that is necessary for forward movement.  It is represented by a bird that is looking back while its feet are turned forward.

Peace & Blessings, Edwin:

I hope this note finds you well. I'm just touching base to see how you are. I'd written to you and the other 4 guys back in the spring and didn't get any answers. I kinda figured it was some post office mess because I'm always complaining about missing mail. One of the guys managed to get a note to me about this messaging system. So I'm trying it. I really hope that y'all are almost home either by the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

God bless u!

Yes this outlet is faster but lately its a delay at times... I was moved to another facility. Im in menard right now. Thanks for not stopping. How are u? Its been a while. How do u manage the crop and harvest around this time of year? If recall correctly u have your garden. All is well for me. Now i have to tell my story which i try everytime when i begin to write yet fail. Maybe remembering all that trauma it sets triggers of hate, unpleasantness and uncomfortability.I dont know, u would think one is strong enough to face the horrors that once plague your life,not the education,the studies and the research. It weighs heavy. I guess mental health is really serious. Ive been noticing lots of public figures and especially athletes take leaves to deal with a professional to offer help.Sorry for pouring this on u. If its too much let me know. Im not to happy being down here but it brought about some undivided reality that was being ignored.

Hows your nieces and nephew? U still baking? What has been your latest delicious dish? Tell me about u. Its been quite some time. Update me Karla!

Life is blissful when share. We were not created to be lonely.

Stay bless


This exchange occurred after nearly a year of radio silence between Edwin and I.  When I got no response to the second snail mail letter, I simply assumed that he had his people in place who he communicated with regularly and there was no room for me.  I was fine with it.  I did my part and let him know that I'm one of many rooting for him.  One of the other four guys was doing his best to lock me in as an exclusive contact. Nothin' doin'.  I kept up with EVERYBODY.  Well...everybody except Edwin.  We were still in the throes of a pandemic.  There were three school-aged children at home with e-learning.  There was a henhouse with five laying hens.  Laundry.  Cooking.  DIY home renovations.  Gardening.  Pivoting the bakery.  You name it, my touch was needed.  Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that Edwin needed my touch the most.

The other guy wrote and called regularly.  Before his wrongful incarceration, he had a well-established career as a rapper.  I worked to pull his work together and created a YouTube channel to showcase the catalog he left behind.  I also set up an interview for him with an online magazine that was conducted and published during his incarceration.  Everything was fine…for him.  It was one-sided for me.  If I were to so much as mention any of the other four guys, I was shut down immediately.  He likened it to some form of cheating.  No matter how much of my time and attention he required, something was amiss.  There was a gaping hole; a void that only Edwin could fill.  Don’t get me wrong.  It felt great to help him, but that lil sump’n more he was hoping for felt like I was trying on a dress that barely went over my head.

EVERYTIME Edwin came to mind between December 2020 and October 2021, I prayed for him.  I asked God to please keep him safe.  I gently reminded Him that it was a pandemic and the prisons were at risk.  I would look him up on the IDOC web site every couple of months, hoping that it would say he was free.  Instead, I saw his defiant profile covered in a big, fluffy, silver beard.  I CONSTANTLY wrested with myself in my head.  Should I reach out?  Nah.  If you mattered, then he’d have reached out by now.  Yeah, but is he ok?  How’s his health…his mind?  Is he closer to the front door and gates?  God, PLEASE continue to bless and cover him.

The day after Halloween, I was sitting outside my twins’ school just before dismissal time when this voice said, “Write to him.”  Soon as I started drafting the note, my twinnies jumped in the car.  I hit “send” right after their bedtime.  The rest, my friends, is history that’s still in the making.  



Leave a comment