COURTHOUSE, or: st. nancy of macon by A.R. Vaive

PLACE YOUR PHONE BELOW IN THE: box, bin, plastic husk, hollowed head and—

slide it through security, step forward, metal detect yourself 

as our most faithful annotator fixes her notes, 

caches YOUR primary glance towards the exit 

in this chopped town, might deteriorates into ashy flecks 

cremation proceedings of old selves – – – 

like your new haircut for this day, your stripped back eyes 

context carpets bankruptcy, life insurance policies 

a coordinate sent late on WEDNESDAY dramatises 

a jeweled balaclava elevates camp, flair 

decompresses the weight of your butcher’s cut 

turns this into sanguine crystals, you showboat! 

go too big, get cut down, anonymity fails 

employees cordon the courtroom, signal with twitchy fingers 

the end of the bailbond balancing act underneath you 

they want GUILTY! they want LIFE

defender demurs, prosecution concurs 

all engulf under the crop of stares 

that night, you swallowed an agitated violet to divide thought 

your blood tests show it still, all compiled statistics about: 

a lack of consciousness, a self-defense, a heart 

and they angle at you their dimwitted certificates 

they claim your use of a tool, our native son 

our prodigal boy, our lady of screwdrivers 

did not mean any long-term damage, you assuage

deduction, destruction, a camera in your face on the stand

picking up every pockmark rendered guiltless, every muffled sound 

the flashing lights play brief complement to the gavel smash

drag on an hour, a week. show us what it means 

to snuff a flame unrepentant 

eradicate yourself, TV judas 

and confess you sought to harm 

the resident 

of each body.

A.R. Vaive (any pronouns) is a writer of all sorts living, working, and learning in Pennsylvania. They were born and raised all over the wonderful state of Michigan, and the Great Lakes are their favorite place to be. When not writing, they can be found hanging out with their pets, watching films, or making their brother explain complex scientific concepts to them. They love horror, philosophy, imagining Sisyphus happy, and window-shopping for things they can’t afford. When they were in second grade, a teacher said she was excited to read their writing in print someday. They are no longer sure they want that to happen. (Find them on Twitter @arVaive!)