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Friday, January 26, 2018


by Alan Walowitz

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina addresses Larry Nassar, (R) a former team USA Gymnastics doctor, who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during his sentencing hearing. (Reuters via Yahoo! Sports)

Me, I’m just one of the run-of-the-mill, everyday sinners of this world,
but how could I not shake, with some small tremor of recognition,
leavened with that familiar there-but-for-fortune feeling,
as Judge Rosemarie Aquilina dragged Larry Nassar
over the white-hot coals of his own making?
At the same time, the thrill of punishment deserved
tingled down my spine,
and I could just hear my mother saying,
I hope he’s not Jewish.
No, Mom, I'd surely reply. Nassar—gotta be Egyptian with a name like that.
True or not, she’d be quite relieved,
at the same time a hundred different kinds of moms
Italian, and Irish, and even those who've snuck in from Guadalajara
maybe with calves the size of cantaloupes
are saying and thinking exactly the same.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Franklin Graham,
Billy's son—by some accounts a good man—
has forgiven our president all his trespasses
with busty Stormy Daniels,
who's probably a very nice woman,
though my mother would hope, also, she isn’t one of us.
The younger Rev. Graham offers with great compassion,
Who am I to pass judgment on the Pres?
I've got sins of my own. 
I only wish Judge Rosemarie Aquilina would get a hold of
the good Rev. Graham and shake him for an hour or two—
and while she’s at it, anyone he’s peddled such cheap forgiveness to.

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. He teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens. Alan’s poetry chapbook Exactly Like Love is in its second printing available from Osedax Press.