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On a Saturday Night in the Inner City, a Poem by John Grey

The siren startles

with its high-pitched fever,

late summer night,

sending folks scrambling

down side streets

or indoors.


Cops are either

heading for

where there’s been a shooting

or looking for somebody

on their most wanted list,

so they can start

a shooting of their own.


Mothers hustle their kids

away from the windows.

A stray bullet kills just as well

as one that hits its intended target.

They pray to Lord Jesus,

even more so

if there’s one of their brood

unaccounted for in the moment.


No cop is coming here

to chat neighborly,

to ask how you’re doing

on this steamy August evening.


Sure, the cops are human.

But their red lights are spinning,

The shriek is deafening.

So, smiles go unseen.

Kindness is unheard.


John Grey is an Australian poet, and U.S. resident, recently published in New World Writing, North Dakota Quarterly and Lost Pilots. His latest books include, “Between Two Fires”, “Covert” and “Memory Outside The Head” which are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in California Quarterly, Seventh Quarry, La Presa and Doubly Mad.


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