“You’d better not write a poem

about this,” my daughter warns,

only half-joking.  She’s just visited

her cousin in prison, a young man

she’s never been really close to

but whom she’s known all his life.

“Where’s my pen?” I joke back,

but I wonder what she must think of me,

a guy who exploits private tragedies

for the sake of entertainment?

Someone you can’t trust

to honor sensitive subjects, the secret heart?

Sammy was in for armed robbery

but his parents hoped

he’d seen the error of his ways,;

he’d never been evil, after all,

just a kid who’d made some bad choices,

got mixed up with the wrong friends.

What kind of poem

was she afraid I’d write?

Whose trust was she afraid I’d betray?

 

 

Charles Rammelkamp edits The Potomac – an online literary journal, and is the Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, MD, where he lives. His latest book is a poetry collection called Mata Hari: Rye of the Day published by Apprentice House (Loyola University).