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They put a boy on drugs
today. He’s one of every ten
in schools where bathroom
walls are riddled with graffiti
carved by blood and switch
blades, and the parents
some who use but mostly
do their best since jobs
that don’t involve deep
fryers went the global way
think maybe it’s okay
though when you’ve been
up stocking shelves all night
and rent still can’t be paid
it’s hard to know, and anyway
the school’s being paid—the
drugs are free, and teachers
they can only do so much, so
who’s to say those well-heeled
men and ladies who take
principals for lunch at five-star
restaurants with promises
of soccer balls and Macs for
kids whose poverty is not
their fault don’t think in their
cold hearts they’re doing right?


© Elaine Stirling, 2013