Thursday, September 14, 2023

from "Twelve Chairs" by Rita Dove


            First Juror

     Proof casts a shadow;
         doubt is to walk
            onto a field
           at high noon
            one tendril
                held to

          Second Juror

       A stone to throw

         A curse to hurl

      A silence to break

        A page to write

          A day to live

              A blank

               To fill

          Third Juror

       between the lip
          and the kiss
     between the hand
          and the fist
       between rumor
          and prayer
     between dungeon
           and tower
        between fear
          and liberty

           Fourth Juror

    Cancel the afternoon
   evenings mornings all
        the days to come
           until the fires
              fall to ash
          the fog clears
        and we can see
             where we

Source of the text - Rita Dove, American Smooth.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004, pages 71-75.

TJB: Deliberation ode. Beyond a reasonable doubt, this poem repackages each juror’s interiority into a short lyric. I stand with the first juror.

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