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When I put my hand upon that bible
(its old leather cover was cracked),
I wondered how many hands, both black and white,
were as steady as mine taking that oath.
I slowly raised my right hand and swore
to tell the truth, the whole truth,
nothing but the truth – so help me God.
I said it as if the Lord was as real as you and me.
I looked each juror softly in the eye,
the way Jesus might, if he was on trial.
* * *
They claimed I had to know the 4 kilos
were hidden in those bags, mashed
under wads of dirty clothes.
“No, sir, I did not,” I said. “I swear,
I did not know, would have hid
them better if I had.”
The fat man snarled; his sarcasm dripped,
“We’re supposed to believe you didn’t look?”
“No sir, I don’t believe in snooping
through other people’s property.”
The fat man lost his cool, sensing he might lose,
raised his voice, “What about the smell?
The patrolmen could smell it, the K-9s went wild.”
I sighed an exhausted sigh and said,
“With all due respect, sir, I’m no dog;
plus I lost me some olfactory in the Iraqi war.
You can check my records on that,” I said.
* * *
My PD, she played a role as well,
was less a Yankee, more of a good ol’ gal.
She appealed to the jury’s sense of fair play.
“Let us hope,” she said, hand on heart,
“we have not come to that sad day
when we’re so cynical
we ‘re incapable of
mustering a reasonable doubt
in favor of a fellow human being.
“He could be your brother or son.
Let us hope we can still manage
to muster a reasonable doubt.”
* * *
There’s nothing quite like getting out of jail.
You feel so free it’s almost worth
getting locked up to get out again.
You look up and see clouds overhead,
and in your car with the windows rolled down,
you can feel the wind blow back your hair
as you bid adieu to that goddamned town.
You’re free to take this road or that,
free to head north, south, east, or west,
free to holler a rebel yell – you’re free again –
on ’95 headed south to Key West.