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Friday, March 30, 2007


by Joanne Lowery

The sociology class goes on a field trip
to the prison to see what happens to those
who step outside society’s norms.

Built in 1929 for 1500, 3000 live there
because our century has so many
bad people that need to be punished.

The students love the death chambers.
Some sit in the electric chair and giggle.
Others prefer the lethal injection room

where Gacy stopped being Gacy.
The instructor tells them this is not Six Flags.
He upbraids them with accusations of being twisted.

They snarl back. Death is interesting.
They get to go home, stopping at McDonald’s.
They have stories to tell their friends
and are closer to getting three more credits.

Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, 5 AM, Passages North, Atlanta Review, and Poetry East. Her chapbook Diorama was the winner of the Poems & Plays 2006 Tennessee Chapbook Prize. She lives in Michigan.