had hoped some would leave,

rise above dirty factory gates,

past plumes of smoke spewing

from the cement plant.


Occasionally when discussing

great American novels, the walls

shook. Ravines were being blasted

for more rocks to crush into powder.


She wished they would not become

clerks for soulless chain stores or

cooks in fast food joints where

smells of burning grease lingered.


What was the use of teaching literature

and poetry to these teens who would

soon grow listless? Their spirits grinded

down like stones in the quarry.




Joan McNerney‘s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Three Bright Hills Press anthologies, several Poppy Road Review journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press publications have accepted her work. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.