ELEVENTH FLOOR LIES
This is a place
where minor matters are decided.
Here, on the eleventh floor of the courthouse,
I conduct a reluctant venue
for lawyers. Only small injustices occur.
I demand explanations. Tardiness is unacceptable.
The lawyers tell me lies about
where they were and when they left. No one,
certainly not I, believes the lies.
If they were dropped on a scale
they would barely press.
Still, I accept the lies. We must
get on with it. Cases are called
and I decide them. Someone wins
and someone loses. The number of people
in the courtroom remains the same,
but the faces change.
The lies are lost, replaced by other lies.
We pretend and we proceed. People leave
with more or less of something.
Decisions require words. At times
I look up from papers, to the wall.
On the wall I see: In God We Trust.
—from Rattle #21, Summer 2004