David Francis

Van of Juveniles

Some "juveniles" just went by in a van,
their faces so dark in the night darkness
and they looked at me and I looked at them
huddled, guarded, indistinct, in transit;
myself at an outdoor cafe table
spotlit, and them waiting for the red light.

Their chief problem, like ours, is to kill time
but we are outside, free, oblivious;
they are like the inert scattered leaves of fall
dark-bound for the prison population:
the great waste of the undeclared empire,
the kept secret that we share among them.

But if you have ever been a teacher
you resent them and care for them much more
than you can admit to in your comfort
because they are part of your suffering
from the same target of hypocrisy,
the same angry arrow missing its mark.

David Francis © 2008