In the Killing Streets

It is not good to be a mother
these days, to watch your sons
go into the streets laughing,

their arms around their friends,
texting each other about where
they might meet for sandwiches

and Cokes after school. On every
newspaper today, the picture
of yet another schoolboy

only fourteen, the hair
on his chin barely even shadow,
fished out from under a bridge

or the slimy waters of a creek.
Only the stars and moon could be said
to be dutiful in their observation

of the law, and yet harm nothing
in the world. How can such unspeakable
crimes each night bear the vestige

of law? Not even the sun is un-
impeachable or merciless like this
in its career: wrapping the face in yards

of tape, cuffing and forcing the boy
to his knees; driving icepick or knife over
and over into a body struggling against its bonds.

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