Last One Out (The Memos)

I remember the day we gave Cappy the boot.

The sergeants, beats and rookies

cast their votes–only two went with Suarez.

It was the end of the worrying, the grousing;

we’d finally got the problem sacked.

He was taken away, if you can believe it,

muttering under his breath.

Some things about so-and-so and you-know-who,

about the dirty, the liabilities,

and memos…

For so long he’d been on about those memos…

But everyone knew he’d been railing awhile,

the Naysayer, the Querulous, the Source

of all the ‘negativity’.

We’d pick back up now that he was gone!

He never fit into the community anyway.

It’s now been six months;

We never believed it would come to this.

The Commissioner’s shut down our precinct.

Folks have had enough, so has he–

with cold cases,

up rates, down trust,

and back-biting in the ranks.

I’m cleaning out my desk, my locker is next–

the last one out, the lights fittingly off.

There’s paperwork everywhere;

I’m not a little ashamed.

We were good cops, once upon a time.

What was the millstone that sunk us?

The Commissioner was done.

He’d never said anything when we drove Captain out–

but I’m not sure anyone ever called him.

I’m peeling the photos of my kids off the door

of my locker now, and one of my wife,

with a lipstick mark on it.

An old lunchbox I never took home,

a private notepad

on a case I never cracked.

Gym shoes, gummy bears, spare clothes and a jar

with colored sand in it

my son made me in school.

It used to sit on my desk

when I still had the space.

Boxes fill up quickly with all these ‘personals’.

I leave the locker unlocked, or better, open–

who knows what will happen to the old precinct now.

My badge resting on top, I take the heaviest box first,

sad slow paces down the hallway, til Stop–

the big board to my right on the way out the door–

and there they are.

I must have walked past hundreds, thousands of times,

and never noticed.

All the bulletins, the cares, the concerns,

the reports, the orders, the assignments–

O’Hara, Kirkcroft, Shaughnessy and McRae,

and Others…

the allegations, once grounds for dismissal–

he’d put them up here, ’cause no-one backed him up.

This was proof, before my eyes, under my nose,

the memos

but I–we never read them, never bothered,

and we’d never done anything about it.

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