I am waiting to be called
as a witness for the prosecution
in the trial of my upbringing.
The courtroom fills up. There is the piano teacher,
neck ropy with veins, the housekeeper
who fell in the pool, the wax pâte
of the smiling headmaster.
There is the coach with his tightly curled beard
and the coach with his clean shave and sunglasses.
The priest moves somewhere in back—
I can see his green and gold robes, smell his aftershave.
Kids are running around. I see J, with the puffy black eye
I gave him when he made fun of A,
there’s A herself, grinning shyly out of a blonde halo
from the back of her father’s red convertible.
College roommates are in the balcony, banging on pots and pans.
There’s that one girl I never called back,
and a few that I shouldn’t have. Are they rolling their eyes?
Down in the front with their dogs
sit my folks, looking concerned: how dear my upbringing is to them,
and there it sits, charged and indicted, in a navy Brooks Brother’s suit,
looking straight ahead and unapologetic,
while lawyers cordially confer on points of procedure
and wait for the judge, busy donning his robes.
Everyone’s a little preoccupied so I light right the hell out of there
to get some air and maybe take in the sights. Seems it’s rained recently.
The city hums, shaking off moisture, purposeful and optimistic.
People with briefcases walk briskly through shallowing puddles,
and stop at street vendors for pretzels and coffee
before returning to their paperwork.
School children pile off the bus and into the park
under a soaring Constable sky.
Someone’s busking. Coins ruffle cash in the guitar case.
Everything functions as it should. There’s even a newspaper,
where, on the front page, I read a story
about reasonable people getting along.