Richard S. Bank
DOING LINEUPS ON MY BIRTHDAY
First you flew over the jungle canopy,
your chopper throbbing like a heart.
I was in the movement, striving against it all.
We crossed swords in the frenetic courtroom,
you in high boots and fifty-mission crush
describing how blood glistens on the dull
3:00 AM streets as if it were alive and I,
asking the time between the call and arrest,
radio descriptions, the cuffed I.D.
The jurors saw you as the Oracle, girded for war.
Now I am the technocrat, filing motions,
attending pre-trial conferences in a bow tie;
you are detailed to the prison, running lineups.
We talk about statistics, the per diem for a cell,
that our paths have suddenly crossed again when
the phone announces your second grandchild,
born on my birthday far from this gray place.
Somehow, I felt all along that neither of us
ever wanted more than home.
—from Rattle #23, Spring 2005
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