Friday, December 9, 2016

Jack Scott writes


No locked cell,
in lemon linen private room
high atop asylum.
She’s sad, not mad.
It’s not that kind of prison,
more a refuge, a retreat,
a safe alternative to street.
What she did was not a crime
although she suffered punishment
in her own mind.
What is the kinder word,
least likely to offend:
impecunious, impoverished
or just plain poor?
Now that’s incarceration . . .

Bringing that to bear on this:
this mother is all that and more.
she has another child
which she didn’t have before.
She had decision, not a choice,
what depth of feeling was involved
only she could say if she would speak.
Born deaf as stone,
her eyes work well
and she’s not dull.
She can read and write,
express herself to her content
with pen and ink on paper.
Untrained, she drew the birds
she loved and fed by hand -
on her own time.
Her mind, translated through her hand and eyes,
has discussed, stated, “listened” and responded.
Settled without duress,
this is equation’s only balance.
She’s accepted that,
she knows what is and isn’t,
she comprehends impossible
she knows what penalties 
stubbornness would cost her daughter.

Like mothers everywhere who care
(there are some who don’t)
she wants her baby,
to become, to have better,
to find comfort affordably,
to have goals and reach them,
to prosper.
There may be altruistic genes,
more likely enlightened self-interest
cast against the wall of probability
as dice to offer better odds,
at least ones that feel better.

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