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Sunday, October 25, 2015


by Catherine McGuire

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” began Judge [Marvin] Wiggins, a circuit judge here in rural Alabama since 1999. “For your consideration, there’s a blood drive outside,” he continued, according to a recording of the hearing. “If you don’t have any money, go out there and give blood and bring in a receipt indicating you gave blood.” —NY Times, October 19, 2015. Photo of Judge Marvin Wiggins from Diverse Issue in Higher Education. It accompanied a August 5, 2014 story on Wiggins’ ouster by Gov. Robert Bentley from the Board of Trustees of Alabama State University.

So you’re broke, and cannot pay –
we’re gonna get you anyway.

The Bloodmobile awaits outside
so bare your arm and stuff your pride.

The other option’s prison for
indigence: three months or more,

where debts increase, as jail’s remittance
is layered on that once small pittance,

which balloons into a lifetime’s debt.
So pay your pound of flesh – no, wait!

I mean pint of blood, a “free will donation”
I’m not Shylock – no relation.

Catherine McGuire is a writer/artist with a deep interest in philosophy. Using nature as a mirror, she explores the way humans perceive themselves and their world. She has poems published in the US and abroad and has four chapbooks: Palimpsests, (Uttered Chaos, 2011) Glimpses of a GardenPoetry and Chickens, and Joy Holding Stillness.