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