What is justice?

I look up from the pressed-wood desk and rub my ice-blue eyes.

A blue pen lays slantwise across an electric yellow pad.

The client exhales, forcing hot breath across the small space between us.

“The fair comes to town in the fall,” I say.  The words fall like snow.


“Do you mean there is no justice?”  the client rebukes.

No, that is not what I mean.  “Justice is for priests and philosophers.

I am a lawyer.”  The client wants to know why he is paying me.

I see  his alligator skin case and think he does not really want to know.


“Justice eats at the table with your adversary.  If it is justice you want,

You must meet your enemy at the hearth and break bread with him.  You must

Listen to his truths until your ears bleed, resisting the urge to speak until your tongue

Swells.  Then, when his truth abides within your cells, you may speak your truth—if any remains.”


Pour the wine.  Pour his glass first.  Then begin the lovemaking.

As you carried the anger of conflict knotted in your heart, now create with the relief of resolution.

You are pregnant with the possibility of peace—carried in the warm blood of relinquishment.

Justice is the love child of the aggrieved, born in the birth-slick of the now, she comes screaming into healing.”


The client clutches his alligator case and bares his teeth.  Again he asks.

“What am I paying you for?”  I say, as I have many times.  “You are paying

Me to speak your story to twelve strangers in the hopes that they like your story the best.”

“Well,” says the client, “We’d better get to work.”






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