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Sunday, December 29, 2019


by Mark Williams

So there I am in the jury box. Voir dire,
the judge calls it, which means speak the truth,
as in don’t and you’re in big trouble. “Have you had
any past acquaintance with either the prosecutor,
the defense attorney, or the defendant?” His Honor asks me.
I no sooner say, “No,” than the prosecutor says,
“May I approach the bench, your Honor?”
and His Honor wiggles his finger as in yes, and make it snappy,
so the prosecutor stands and approaches His Honor.
With their eyes on me, they exchange a few words
before the prosecutor steps to the box and asks,
“Do you have a beagle named Keeper?” Since I do
have a beagle named Keeper, and I speak the truth,
I say, “Yes.” Then he says, “Do you remember
the time you were walking on the levee,
and Keeper and another beagle picked up a deer scent,
and you and the beagle’s owner spent three hours
searching the woods for your dogs?” And now I realize
the other beagle’s owner is asking me these questions,
and my chances of being squeezed from the box are high.
Sure enough, “You’re excused,” says His Honor.

But in the upcoming case of

                       The Truth
       The President of the United States

the majority of Senatorial jurors have demonstrated
they are no more capable of speaking the truth
than Keeper is capable of ignoring a deer scent. Not only that,
the majority of jurors are acquainted with the defendant
in the sense that Barnacle Boy, The Dirty Bubble,
and Man Ray were acquainted with each other
as members of EVIL (Every Villain is Lemons)
in Season 3 of SpongeBob SquarePants.
But with no provisions in place
to squeeze our Lemons from the box,
it is we who are lost within a dark wood,
with no hope, until November,
to get out.

Mark Williams lives Evansville, Indiana. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, and The American Journal of Poetry. His fiction has appeared in Drunk Monkeys and the anthologies American Fiction and The Boom Project. In response to the current administration, his poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Poets Reading the News, Tuck Magazine, and Writers Resist.