Worthy of Dante, penal planners
fit the sentence to the crime.
One hundred times the lifer writes DEAD END
the rapist YIELD
the parolee GOODBYE AND COME AGAIN.
Consigned to help us KEEP RIGHT
these minor Moses lay down laws
OBEY THE LIMITS
In bins wait cautions
for every hazard but the one that put them here.
We hear and heed. Mild souls who hold the road,
the likes of us imagine the likes of them,
in a custom '57 Chevy, mowing down every sign they've made
on the way to unpaved, unposted roads.
And wouldn't we like, like them, to open up,
looking for conviction in the zone
between boredom and extinction.
John Barr/from The Hundred Fathom Curve