Ellery Sorkin, Volume II, Issue 1

I hate the clients’ lies to me. Their stories slide
across the desk, held out as truths by clients
who assume I am as stupid as their friends,
the ones who aided, abetted in the crimes.
The clients swear to God
upon their mother’s graves, then give me checks
sad Momma signed for my retainer fees.
They swear upon their children’s eyes, the ones
that watched them fondle little friends who came to play.

Some look me in the eye, declare they
did not leave fingerprints on jewelry stands of friends,
were forced to act in self-defense when grandpa’s
bones were broken or blood was shed,
did not know the car was stolen,
worth a thousand times the weekly rent,
then hold their breath to see if I believe.

Others gaze at palms, at books, at carpet,
anywhere but me, suggest some other dude
threw down the drugs, or they were framed
by racist cops who filmed the robbery, and
that their darling had her consent to
throw some woman on the ground,
push rocks and grass inside her sex,
tie tight her arms with her brassiere,
then push up sleeves and really get to work.

The spilled-out lies, blots, stains, embarrass us both.
When trapped by simple cross-examination,
clients pause, then sigh, then hear their lawyer gently say:
“May I suggest a different form of truth might be

Save your parents’ money and my time. Here’s what
the judge can listen to but not get pissed enough
to put you in the joint when you have lost,
and lose we might, the truth be known.”

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