National Poetry Month: A Poem of Despair, A Poem of Hope

04.04.17 By Carlita Salazar

National Poetry Month: A Poem of Despair, A Poem of Hope

April is National Poetry Month. To help us celebrate the literary month, the Innocence Blog asked readers to share with us their poetry about criminal justice.  The response has been overwhelming. Thank you to all of you who have submitted your work. We are so excited to read these terrific pieces and to share them widely.

If you’ve written poems about criminal justice that you’d like to share, please submit them at [email protected]. We may feature your piece on the Innocence Blog and social media.

Today we are posting two poems; the first is by Michelle Mitchell and the other is by Daphne Brulee. Thank you, Michelle and Daphne, for reaching out and sending in these excellent poems.


Lost in the system

by Michelle Mitchell

So many lives changed

The day that your sentence came

Seen a whole building plea guilty in Fullerton

I had to ask

Is guilty the only plea you know he said if I plea guilty he will let me go home

They don’t think twice of a guilty plea just ready to leave

With Guilty attached to your name for the rest if his life

Don’t let your child go out your arms and into a cell before he had his first anything

its shame instead of a fight the parents move away

13 years old sentence life

It’s nothing a kid can do to deserve life

No more warnings

To show a kid another way adults calling 911 for a payday

Kids dreams shattered by the justice system at a young when they make adulthood how productive are they as

Adults walking around

With everything new to them they don’t recognize their own town anymore, or a familiar face who use to know him

so many years lost from a mistake as a child

The Justice system don’t work for everybody


Sigh of an Innocent

By Daphne Brulee

I dreamt of the Shock

of one word:


It wasn’t a dream.

I hoped for a word

Among the drip-drip-drip of days

I faced in near-catatonia


A semblance, here or there, of humanity

Until a Someone listened.

This hint of hope made all the difference to me:

It fought, and soared, and restored a Someone, free.

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