Click here to listen to Aliki Barnstone read this poem. And anger reads my judgment against you. Your smile is sour and conceals fraud. I go on and on, watching you from a distance,
as if I were cool behind dark sunglasses
that filtered out the glare of your assessment,
while you repeat evidence against me.
I face your face but close my soul,
turn aside, walk deep into a maze,
go on watching myself, holding you at a distance,
slamming doors behind me (only I can hear).
My anger keeps you blathering inside me,
so I recite again my findings against you.
Yet we sit together at the table, each to serve
the other artfully poisoned morsels, point a fork,
and go on and on, watching the widening distance.
You say, “You should have listened to me,”
and, “But you had to be you, didn’t you?”
Then I become the witness who testifies against me.
We deliberate all night, inventing counterpoints,
narrowing our vision at spears of candlelight
and we go on and on, watching from a distance,
as we appeal, go back to discovery, retry, seek
sympathy by recounting suffering and history,
though this defense may deliver the verdict against us:
locked in argument, our embrace will pull us down
through the shades, and we’ll hold on to our grievances
and go on, too watchful, unable to get some distance,
reading and helplessly rereading the sentences against us.