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Friday, May 06, 2016


by Phyllis Klein


   “It was more of a father-son conversation. It was personal.”
The Washington Post, April 22, 2016

And so, when the judge
gets into the cell
with the man he has just sentenced
to twenty-four hours in jail,
the man asks, “For the whole day?”
and the judge says,
“Yeah, that’s what I’m doing.”

Like a father who says,
“He’s my son and I won’t see him fall."
And a son who isn’t alone
locked down in the dark with his terror.

Because the judge has been to war, too,
and knows there are wounds
that aren’t visible. Because the man,
two decades in the military, knows
another soldier died for him in combat
and lives crushed under this,
and not only this.

And a judge can be a brother
to a man who has lost his way,
as two oak trees in a meadow
can be connected by their roots.
The way a man who has lost
his way can be a messenger
to remind us
there is so much more to know
about what’s on the inside.

Because we are so ready
to skate on the surface
of our minds. Because
we can do so much more
to be relatives in the fields        
of trees, beauty,
and devastation we call home.

Phyllis Klein believes in poetry. Her work has appeared in the Pharos of Alpha Omega Medical Society Journal,  Qarrtsiluni, Silver Birch Press, The Four Seasons Anthology, TheNewVerse.News, and is forthcoming in Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Chiron Review. She is very interested in the conversation between poets and readers of poetry. She sees artistic dialogue as an intimate relationship-building process that fosters healing on many levels. She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area as a psychotherapist and poetry therapist.