The Napoleonic Code


He wears a ring of sweat inside his collar

(yellow, half-a-question) and a tie

(snug pin, busty girl on the flip side).


What do you think you’d find on the inside

of each of these houses, just this block? he asks,

pictures of his clients’ complaints in hand.


We play a game like Memory: which welling bruise

on which plaintiff’s body matches with which report.

Dogs always shit behind the furniture, he says.


The closest thing to truth is in six drops of blood

pearling on his finger. He says, there isn’t a cookie crumb

my glucometer doesn’t know about.


I can see why he might want something of his own,

like a payment in champagne. He says on our picnic,

it’s both warm and hot. As a judge (emperor)


he has a little license to decide what should remain hidden,

like pearl-gripped Sig (pink, engraved initials)

tucked into the tissue box by the bed.

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