Searchlights strafe the night blocking out the stars
while inside boys search sleep, perusing dreams
that conjure memories of innocent pasts, they’re
back in homes where mothers and sisters danced:

this is but a transient relief – too soon
the dawn slips through window bars bringing
steel’s clang to rouse the day, the stink of men –
no woman comes to bathe a fevered brow.

A judge who didn’t know them, a lawyer duty bound
presided over their futures, turned the page of fate
were they guilty or in the wrong place – no matter?
Now they’re behind walls subject to the system

turning innocence to depravement – no escape
for all around older, wiser know the game
survive by bringing new blood to the flock:
This flock thrives by bending all the rules
the rams impregnate all the new lambs
teach them, turn them into wolves and serve

the new shepherds guiding this interned flock.
All is contained by consent of shepherds whose
duty is to guard, but they are weary of the task
for they know there is no redemption; the stars

are set by race, creed, and class for money rules.
Those without the right profile are sacrificial lambs.

© 2017, Carolyn O’Connell

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