Four Months Later

Four months later,
they sit surrounded by
legalistic redundancies
that line the walls
and wear starched shirts
stained with dinginess.

Mirrors to the guilty,
hot mics amplify
“yes’s,” “no’s” and “that’s correct;”
Each one another
scoop of soil
tossed onto love long dead.

Like big-city coroners,
two women toil desensitized;
Typing and filing away past lives
organized by case numbers
while one wonders how they smile
after tasks of such undertaking.

Presiding on high,
the commissioner:
“Your Honor” reduced
to non-judgmental echo
of time-wasting
paperwork mazes.

With a final query
and consequential affirmation,
“I do” digresses to “I did”
as the stenographer
drops a rose
with one last keystroke.

And outside,
two balloons
catch diverging updrafts
and float freely
having been released
from a debilitating tangle.

February, 2004

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