Kevin Gallagher

Day at Occuquan


We marched with purple
and gold ribbons

across the bosoms of our dresses
and with banners in our hands;

our banners
were the ends of vines.

The ribbons waved
goodbye to the parade

as they plumed through
the door of the police car.

In jail we'd receive mail,
read books, take visitors,

wear our own clothes,
speak to our lawyers,

smoke cigarettes, and laugh
until we fell asleep.



The sun left a bar of gold
on the ceiling each morning.

In that cell I dreamed a play
for children

allowed to be themselves
in front of their own crowd.

The players wore masks,
screamed, and were cripple.

A child shrieked, leaned
over a balcony, and left us.

She who sows her tears
shall reap in joy.

Going she went and wept
casting her seeds;

she shall return
with glee and sheaves.