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Monday, December 03, 2012


by Ed Shacklee

Artist: Marcus A. Bedford, Jr. (K-00220, Y-Wing 204L, P.O. Box 689 Central Fac., Soledad, CA 93960)
Image source: “Comix from Inside” at The Real Cost of Prisons

A captive flock, a clip-winged throng
Whose fledglings start to lose their song
So cheery in the nest, its tone
So much like children of our own,

Their rookeries are known for squalor.
Jurists never see their color
Is all too often blacks and browns,
Though cartoons show them striped like clowns;

Now caged in millions, hard to tame,
Just strings of numbers for a name
Who must make do without another,
But answered once to sister, brother.

Ed Shacklee is a public defender who represents young people in the District of Columbia. His poems have appeared in Angle, Contra, The Flea, Light and Lucid Rhythms, among other places.