Written for: Poets United Midweek Motif~Zero Tolerance
Various countries have laws for zero tolerance of: Using certain pesticides and chemicals, Bullying in the workplace, Dealing Narcotics, Driving while intoxicated, Belonging to gangs, Using weapons and drugs and violence in schools, and increasingly, Discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and religion in many settings.
And by international agreement since 2012, all countries have zero-tolerance for genital mutilation:
Zero-Tolerance is controversial, and hard to enforce. This is not just because one law doesn’t fit everyone, but because laws are applied unevenly. In the USA, biased law enforcement has led to a racist “school to prison pipeline,” for example.
But when Zero Tolerance becomes a law, its job is to prevent future damage. Changing behaviors by enforcement now is meant to change attitudes over time. Does this work? Can it work? Should it work?
Take one tiny piece of this vast topic to illuminate in a new poem using your stories, images, experience, wishes, and potential solutions. Feel free to focus on FGM.
I had my first apartment–a basement, dark, small–a sense of freedom.
I was happy to provide my own light. My sister and friends visited,
once accompanied by a homeless cat. Of course I welcomed her.
Sounds ideal, right?
One weekend morning, an African/American friend from work,
and her sister came for the day. I heard a commotion outside
the front door. My landlady was standing in front of my friends,
demanding to know what they wanted. Livid and humiliated, I informed
my intolerant landlady that they were my friends. She said, “Oh, I
thought they were here to clean.” In later days my landlady would tell me
to make new friends. That was my first brush with the cruelty
rosebush budded pink
in early part of Spring
lends her hue to daffodils