Cruel & Unusual

The young Child sits hunched in the dock
a state-appointed social worker
at his side.
Shyly he glances across the courtroom.
There Mom sits – crying, her worn hands clenched.
Across the aisle,
Dad is seated with his latest girlfriend.

At the front of the room
a stranger is standing, telling all who will listen
that the child must be locked away
for the safety of Society is at risk.
The Child fidgets in his chair.
He glances at the frosted window
the sun is shining, birds are singing.
It’s a great day for playing in the park.

The Child is constrained
to remain indoors
and listen to the legal ramblings.
Words like…
‘enticed… battered… violent… murdered’
float across the crowded court room.

Did not
the programs on T.V. demonstrate these acts
Was not the newspaper hero at breakfast table
the latest murderer?
Had not Society long since banished
‘Honour thy Father’
‘Love thy Neighbour’
as well as ruling that certain types of discipline
were cruel and unusual?
The newspapers, television, video games
and movies had all taught him well.

The legal droning continues
Mom keeps on crying
Dad looks longingly at his female companion.
All the child wants to do just now
is run and play
in the neighbourhood park
breathe the fresh air
and feel the warm sun on his back.

across the city, a detention cell waits
it’s door propped open.

~~ J.E. Dyrholm ~~