portion of artwork for Dennis Mahagin's poems

Waterston Makes a Mental Note to Dock the Incorporeal Bailiff
Dennis Mahagin

Of course, real justice is fickle
as a south Florida breeze in early
August, but who
besides that tough-as-nails and dapper
prosecutor, Jack McCoy, to catch you
red handed shooting toilet paper free throws
in the courthouse crapper,
on the county’s dime?

With four electric hand dryers going off at once
to simulate a hostile Madison Square Garden crowd, and there
you are, frozen ten feet from the wastebasket with your swan’s neck
of a finishing wrist, just like Coach taught
back in high school.

“Nice form!” barks Jack McCoy, over the four-hand-dryer roar,
and it’s so hard to meet his gaze, though he only stays long enough
to cinch up his necktie, and silently confirm everything he’s surmised
about you … then, with that infinitesimal slur in his gravel voice, McCoy

When the D.A. is finally gone, you stare balefully
at the wet clumps of T.P. on the W.C. floor; as those dryers
start cutting out, one by one, a chill hits your kidneys, itís
like pissing all over again, in the municipal pool when
lifeguardsí whistles meant nothing personal, only
that the Time was done, everything you chalked up
to fun must be paid for, it’s why Jack McCoy pulls
the big bucks, and you, poor excuse for enforcer of the court
in a monkey suit, your sorry wads all over the tiles, “Stupid …
… stupid … stupid,
” you announce to an empty
urinal, flushing automatically as a hold-out juror
in final assent, a sure as Shine-Ola
late-blooming conviction:

You must clean up your life.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 27 | Law & Order Issue | Winter 2010