Reflections on Jury Duty

Books and bags
no one looks at no one
eyes cast down
or reading
or staring off into nothing
no one meets your gaze
the good-natured banter
of the cattle line
bound for the slaughter of security
gone
Replaced by sheep
untalking
barely breathing
mentally asleep

White basement holding pen
no windows
one obvious door
incoming only
no one yell fire
the stampede would be epic

Rainy morning
umbrellas
damp hair
damp people
damp demeanor
the smell
of not quite wet dog
mixed with
undisguised body odor
and wet cigarette smoke
hangs low
in the still dank air
imagine this room
in the heat
of a central texas noon

shudders

Stragglers arrive
vain hunt
somewhere to sit
a few take residence
on floor at wall
older women stand
as dapper Dan’s bag
and Mistress Mary glory purse
hold refuge on
there very own chairs

uppermost in every mind
how do I
get out of this
can I lie
about my kids
about my past
about what this
call to duty
costs me

Did anyone notice
the soldier’s statue
they walked past
entering the dungeon
the man representing
all who have died
so we can enjoy
the freedom
to whine about
what we are here to do

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