Stamps: Sean Hill



Jail Yard

By Sean Hill

In the hot Junes, Julys and Augusts of my youth the neighborhood kids and I used to play in the sweep of the pop-up sprinklers that dotted the large lawn between the road and the Baldwin County Jail. This, the best green space in the neighborhood, was right across the street from our house. Runoff filled the ditch cut into the red clay that ran along the road—a seasonal creek for frogs and tadpoles and us.  We played baseball without having to worry about windows.

In March and April we flew our first kites (bought at the Minit Mart for a buck or two), running in the wind up and down until they caught a current that carried them farther than we knew how to measure.

In May we practiced somersaults and cartwheels, hurled Frisbees at and away from each other, and waited for those sprinklers.

In September and October when the weather began to cool down we played football or rather a game that gestured toward football—no lines or bounds, no real plays, uneven teams, but the freedom of running—being chased and chasing, the intimacy of being dragged to the ground by another’s weight.

Occasionally a guard would step out the side door and quietly watch us or smoke a cigarette and watch the clouds or escort someone to the door and watch him take the trash to the dumpster like a parent making certain the chore gets done.


Sean Hill lives in Bemidji, Minnesota.



“Jail Yard” is part of the Stamps project. Click here to learn more >>

Sean Hill’s debut collection of poems, Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, was published by The University of Georgia Press.


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