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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 26

Laws make liars of us all

I wonder what Alex thought
as he lay in bed that night
At lunch, as we talked about the wildcat
that had shut the city’s freight-work down,
ten weeks with nothing moving,
trucks and warehouses silent
as a fish reciting Whitman,
he sipped one beer too many,
said “we” instead of “they,”
opening the way for employers, if I blabbed,
to sue for slews of megabucks.

Did he sleep at all that night?
Or did his talks bobtail around questions of lawsuits
when local union staff abet a wildcat strike?
He never told me.

And me? When I wrote the book?
I had to let readers learn
the truth.
But I never said it.

Sam Friedman