TRIAL AND ERROR
By Linda Eve Diamond
The victim was her own and only witness.
She took a stand. She swore.
She told the truth, “So help me,”
she cried, “help me…”
as she realized she was on trial.
Witness this box of questions:
…and, of course, the questions of concern
for his reputation.
The peering jury and public listened
for yarns to spin, threads baring raw skin,
sarcastic twists, dim wits, laughable quotes,
good sound bites—ones with teeth.
The chorus sang in full disharmony,
that she wasn’t coming off well
as she was…
too quiet, too weak, too forceful, too loud,
too robotic, too angry, too shrill, too cold, too hot,
too trashy, too plain, too flashy, too buttoned-up,
too emotional, too unemotional, too clever, too dumb,
too much, too little, too straight down the middle
.…and that was her problem.
Credible evidence was, incredibly, dismissed.
Justice was assaulted, publicly, for all to see.
The offensive defense celebrated
the gripping courtroom trauma
and successful persecution
of the victim.
The victim’s voice had wrung out
and dried up, as she fell back
into a shattered reflection.
She took a seat. She swore,
to herself, a cut-throat vow
of self-preserving silence.
This poem was originally published by Tuck Magazine on October 10, 2018.