Juvenile Justice Center*

Just a slip of shadow

against the gray back wall

like a shipwrecked sloop

half-submerged at sea

Amber wept away the workshop

spilling verse from shaken shoulders

through a darkened broken chasm

to her trembling pen below-

how she longed to feel her son,

to play with Corky in the rain,

to taste the smell of barn-cured bacon

and breathe her mother's skin again,

the only homing harbor

holding shackled hopes alive.

Jerome L. McElroy


*Accepted Potpourri (December 2001).