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Family Court


ISSUE:  Summer 1981
Though the mother does not take drugs
to keep her calm, the father is obviously
placid. The child is the boat they all
climb on, even the guard. This is a saga

about seasickness. The judge begins by
considering the mother’s legs as she flips
unsteadily through truth’s spectrum,
riding the narrative song of the examiner

to its logical and damaging point.
She wants to scream. The variations
possible in her replies; β€œYes, but. . .”
are cornerstones in an edifice

of anyone’s construct. Surely
the lady with the scales is scrabbling
on the floor for a lost contact.
When the judge taps his gavel,

wide as a foot, into his palm,
it’s a soundless wisdom: sever
the heart and place it on a plate
for the woodsman, uniformed and manacled.

What is the refrain?
When do they all break into dance?

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