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



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*Accepted Potpourri (December 2001).