by Anna Weaver
From my assigned place outside Courtroom No. 3
on a bench almost as hard as my mother-in-law’s stare
last time I saw her, I watch Miss Shurleen Jacobs,
Civil Clerk, process my divorce papers.
Her grace defies the sharp ca-thunk of the date stamp.
The soft teal of her sweater set floats above the heavy
manila beige and municipal gray. She greets yet another
lawyer by name, squints in my direction.
Kafka sits beside me and winks,
pointing to the racks of record books—
Judgment Dockets, Divorce Dockets, Lunacy Dockets—
each one big as a trap-door.
Kafka is pleased that I took the narrow,
humid stairs today, up to the 12th floor
for a receipt and back down to Level P
to see the sheriffs.
He smiles just like Uncle Nelson the day I gutted
a fish instead of squealing back to the lake house
with my girl cousins. I smile back, bloody and dimpled,
scales shimmering in my dirty blonde bangs.
-refers to the word “cousins” in The Oak Remembered from my Childhood by Clare L Martin.