A MEMBER OF THE JURY
Last night, I couldn’t will the Cardinals a hit
although I tried, beaming smack after smack
through my eyes. Each was swung through,
the ump’s HIKE punctuating the batter’s grimace.
The guys with the best uniforms, two bright birds
perched on a bat, deserved not to be swept,
but swept they were. I had better luck
at jury duty at willing my name to be called,
unlike most others in the room who wanted
nothing more than to go home. In Voir Dire,
my bored peers lofted one disqualification
after another—relatives in law enforcement,
strong opinions on the matter at hand.
What stance would increase my chances,
I wondered. As if the judge had read my thoughts,
he admonished: Don’t tell us what you think
we want to hear. I’d give anything to know
what the lawyers saw in me to seat me
in the twelfth chair. Today, the Astros
face the Yankees. After performing
my civic duty, I’ll watch the slow duel
between batter and pitcher, willing
homers that never happen and cursing
the other team’s outfielder as he snags
a would-be run or makes the double-play.
My decision will have helped
exonerate a man or punished him.
The defendant will have kept his eyes on me
as if our willing could make anything so.
—from Poets Respond
October 22, 2019