A Rose Kelleher Poem

Zero Tolerance

There will be no one waiting,

tense as a pulled pin,

to hop the subway turnstile

just as the train rolls in.

There will be no one glancing

warily left and right,

agitating aerosol

behind the school at night.

No criminal will circumvent

the rules by stealth or cunning.

No muffled voice will ask

Is your refrigerator running?

No missile filled with water

will dislodge a single hat.

In the darkest of dark alleys

there will be no alley cat,

when a penny’s worth a dollar

and boys are hanged with men

and apple pies can safely cool

on windowsills again.


from New Walk, Autumn/Winter, 2011