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Voir Dire Poem By Elise Paschen

Voir Dire Poem By Elise Paschen

When he phoned the next morning from another state,
saying that, after our dance,
after my exit, in full view of all the guests,
the waiters at long tables
of open bars, she lunged at him, tearing his tux,
his dress shirt, scratching his chest,
drawing blood with her nails, demanding a response:
“Why can’t you love only me?”

wasn’t he describing me, our drama: our act,
our scene? But last night I was
the other woman, catching his eye, pulling him
close, soaked in his favorite scent,
poured into the tight dress, finally premiering
a cameo role, complete
with the mysterious extra man, his arm snug
as a stole across my back.

Still holding the telephone, I thought of my case,
how I was called for jury
duty: the charge, Harassment and Assault. I couldn’t
answer him, but had to wait
for the coins to stop dropping, the sentence to stop,
the blood to dry, the buttons
sewn back, and the tux left off at the dry cleaners,
pretending our history

was an invention and what justice lay in store,
would be served only by those,
waiting for the sentence handed down in the end.

Elise Paschen
from Infidelities

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