Nine, Five, Four
Nine wise, black-robed, sequestered scions
With one voice: Law.
Speaking with brave equivocation
For this now's people
with forebears' words:
Compromising, a tenuous whole,
Split along old faults,
Jurisprudentially bound by rule:
Accounting to God,
Channeling precedent, common claims
Bravely banishing uncertainty
With spliced nuance.
Six men, three women, four liberals,
Six Roman Catholics,
Four New Yorkers,
Italian-Americans, three Jews
More summed than whole.
Holding a polished, law-honed mirror,
One court, one Land,
One live, heart-beating Constitution,
One deciding vote,
Balancing justice and humans' rights,
Truth and tradition:
Science and faith.
Proclaiming: Here, no more may "same-sex
Married couples have
Their lives burdened
By reason of government decree
in visible and
public ways." No!
"Majority goes off course," and yet
Conjuring Blackstone and Solomon,
Burke, Locke, Marshalls both,
Admitting, tacitly the failures,
Nine patriots, Americans all,
Friday, June 21, 2013
"You better use that sc'atch paper, now"
She warned, with feigned alacrity,
"I don't wanna see no mess."
"Don't come in here with no foolishness."
"C'mon, now, show yo' work."
Linking twenty bussed-in kids, mostly
white and mostly lousy with math,
To Euclid: the street off Keech,
She was the curvy embodiment
Of its Greek-honed hero.
Word problems, in this sweet world of Slate,
Chalk, sweat, unhidden erections
And harsh, innocent cruelties,
Faded behind stifled chuckles and
Algebra: its own sake.
Day's end sneakings back for extra help,
Lips parting, white and gold-toothed grins,
She taught more than "solve fo' X."
She shared lilac-wrapped humanity
Within tight, buxom hugs.
That we cherished but dared not admit,
As our A-D-Ds allowed:
Latch-keyed, lanky, and fearing failure:
Always show our work.