The Honorable Answer Speaks
I know you are very zealous. I appreciate that. Please, let me rule? Pardon me while I unveil my friendship with the abuser’s mother. Pardon me while I cite my expertise on domestic abuse. Pardon me while I eat this bag of Cheez-Its for I have missed my lunch. Pardon me while I do not hear. Pardon my confusion about the internet. Pardon me, but some abusers can be very sad. Pardon me but a person can feel harassed. Pardon me but why don’t these women stand up for themselves? Pardon me but a victim of abuse must bear the weight of paperwork. Pardon me but have you tried the police? There is help for you if you prove your case. If you go through the proper channels. If you humiliate yourself. You place your body in harm. You stand before the court in proper attire. You endure the long hours. You return home under the law, protected by a signature. And the threat of police. Who may or may not respond. Who may or may not respond violently. Who may or may not come.
The Victims’ Attorney: Opening Statement
In my ten years of practice I have never seen such… In my ten years of practice I have never felt such… Here is a boy with a bat in his hand. I am no vehicle for false light, hand over a bulb that glows its own blood.
Honorable Answer, perjury will be committed today. My clients are muzzled. My clients are victims. I must speak on their behalf. I must read, highlight, and underline them. The petitioner will make a sparkling dogma of his victimhood. His pain is real. Their pain is real. I must encourage you to see their story as truth.
These four corners of the court hearing’s statutes are the earth’s four corners: threat, harassment, fright, alarm. My clients know no cardinal direction. Flip the invention of the petitioner’s world. Reveal the red of truth. My clients have traveled far. They are weary. You will not hear them.
Jenny Molberg is the author of two poetry collections: Marvels of the Invisible (winner of the Berkshire Prize, Tupelo Press, 2017) and Refusal (LSU Press, 2020). She has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and the Longleaf Writers Conference. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, Boulevard, The Missouri Review, West Branch, Poetry Northwest, and other publications. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she directs Pleiades Press and co-edits Pleiades magazine. Find her online at jennymolberg.com or on Twitter at @jennymolberg.