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Contributor: Ron Yazinski

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My long suit, ignorance, sat me on the jury.
Never had I heard of the plaintiff,
Nor suffered a heart attack that I was aware of,
Nor ever employed either lawyer
To help me recant a confession.

It was a civil suit, in which the son of the deceased sought
Restitution for his father’s refusal to lose weight
And take his medicine.
For him, his father was worth at least enough money to buy a half-decent suit,
Not the tight fitting one he was wearing in the court room,

With a shirt that wouldn’t button at the neck
And a black tie that was too short.
He had found a lawyer with a lisp and a hearing aid who agreed
There must be remedy for a seventy-eight year old man no longer with us.
Somebody should pay, even if he had done nothing wrong.

The two doctors in question had enough money:
The family doctor, who had cautioned the old man
That his heart wouldn’t survive on hope alone,
Who prescribed the right pills, and had encouraged him, as a friend, to take them,
Certainly dressed well, down to his diamond cufflinks;

And the prestigious heart surgeon, in his impeccable Armani,
Who in two weeks of trial had to forego ten open-heart operations,
At fifty thousand each, and still could say amusing, informative things on the stand,
Like the blood thinner used in the heart-lung machine is derived from salmon sperm,
Claimed he had done all he could, but old men die.

At the summation, the son’s attorney belittled the defendants’ attitude
Of expecting his client to merely shake an angry fist at the sky.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury,” he said,
“That’s what barbarians and heathens do;
“Not civilized men in suits.”

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Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who divides his time between Northeastern Pennsylvania, which has all the charm of an underground parking garage, and Winter Garden, Florida.


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