Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6                         Page 22
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The court clerk, working
on a crossword puzzle,
concealed behind the cover
of the law book he pretends
to be reading:

all that separates him
from a pension

is ten more years.

The court reporter
reading back the defendant’s answer,
retrieved from typing
all morning
on his stenograph machine:

all that separates him
from writing
the Great American Novel

is working for a living.

The judge, sitting
at his bench, pondering
the testimony of the detective
about the gun in question:

all that separates him
from Supreme Court

is raising $50,000
for the Democratic Party.

The defendant, sitting
next to his lawyer, staring up
at a smudge
on the white courtroom ceiling;

all that separates him
from freedom

is astronomy.

  Chris Butters