by Sandra S Corona
Thursday, September 11, 2003
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This poem was based upon a true story that appeared in the Bend Bulletin, Bend, Oregon. The crime didn't occur here but the writer picked up the story
Open welts on his arms, shoulders, legs and back,
yet the child never complained.
Burns, bruises, cuts going deep . . .
why did he, dark, sad secrets keep?
Joe was only eight,
didnít want to aggravate.
Joe told his teacher, ďDonít repeat what Iíve said!
Iíve been beat before; theyíll get mad.Ē
Joe was a good lad.
She paused, didnít whisper, words that could help.
Teachers arenít paid to intervene
even if a child in them trusts!
Momma was a drug addict, a whore
they thought she was trying
but Joe, inside, was crying, dying.
She didnít live with Dad anymore
her beaus came from bars.
Joe had a little sister, newborn.
He cared for her at night . . . in the morn.
Angels, the pair, a thin call from heaven--
you could almost see their wings.
Ma found work . . . left the babies to go;
her beau, sitting, would torture Joe.
Joe wouldnít let him fondle the baby;
but nothing caused Joe to back down.
Joe missed too much school; the police came around.
The teachers whispered the secrets he shared.
Founding a blood-pillow, dried blood on the floor--
they had no hope for Joe anymore.
It was worse than they feared . . .
bathroom trash bags held the boysí leg
and his head, a part, was crushed.
Never again would Joe cradle Meg
whose torso lay Ďneath her brother.
Mom and beau are pampered, jailed!
Why suffer the innocent children?
Why do some treat kids like trash on the street?
I donít instantly love every child Iíve met
but I cherish their right to live, thrive.
Too many Joeís, Megís die in home jungles;
Sometimes we cage the wrong animals
in the zoos we call jails;
others are let go too soon.
All I can say . . . is that I pray,
that the Joeís and Megís will forgive us
for keeping the secrets that damned them.
I'm clipping Joe's story on my wall.
Art and poem copyright 2003 Sandra S Corona