First, Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!!
23 My Civic Duty
The old building was rather nicer, cadet-blue trimming
the dusty fleur-de-lis high on freshly off-whitened walls,
the flag a scrub-faced inspiration by the unplugged television,
still bubble-wrapped and cellophaned, rolled to face the left.
Here, three years later, my leg falls asleep at 9:40
with no friendly biologist “slash sculptor” to distract me
from the scuffed ecru walls until hauled off, leaving only
Panel #5 as his name, chuckling through a jovial cloud
of moral outrage, as I serenade him with a tune from Hair.
No one’s snoring now, and no new man is at my side,
vibrant, handsomely leather-scented, to say in a warm,
deep voice, “I’m envious” as I think, “Me too,” nearly blinded
by his wedding band. The water cooler burbles yet again
when another bored-not-thirsty would-be juror takes a swig,
and we the Unimpaneled languish, murdering voodoo doll
doodles of the lunch crowd that will beat us to the foccacia
at noon. Soon I’ll sit next to bachelors 3, then 4, then 5
in this judicial version of speed dating, no less scientific
for weeding out married guys, none of whom would think
to strip his left hand for jury duty. As the safety-hazard
laptopper strings rechargers across the aisle and another
stripe-shirted worker bee yaps too loud from the vending
room, I sit under the broken clock with a spare pen
snapped up on my sprint for the door and train that now
seems like years ago–in case the pen that lives in my bag
identifies this grid-ceilinged room in a brick-locked building
as an excellent place for all of its last earthly rites.