The Lawyer Formerly Known as Me

By Craig Van Rooyen

Featured Art: ‘Lawyer’ by Georges Rouault

(after Stuart Dischell)

Three martinis into my going-away party,
I’m explaining the philosophical underpinnings of
“voir dire” to anyone who’ll listen, and the stacked
First-year associate says she’s lost me, and I think
How I’ve lost me too—me, the former me,
The fantastic me, single-handed remover of bras,
Liberator of songbirds, sawyer of sequined women.

And my secretary gives me a hug and says
She already misses me and I take another sip
And think how I already miss me too,
The unlined me, cocksure me, me with
A flexible inner ear, Big Wheels jockey,
Turner of double plays, harvester of honey,
Mullet-haired me, smoker of difficult joints,
Purveyor of life-changing pamphlets and
Multiple orgasms, driver of VW buses,
Ambassador to dolphins, memorizer of
The Book of Psalms.

When the senior partner says he won’t forget me
In a way that lets me know he’s already forgotten
Me, I think how I’ve forgotten me too,
Me without irony, self-inflating me, believer in
The Second Coming, grower of large tomatoes,
Climber of big walls and beanstalks, chatty me,
Debater of Jehovah’s Witnesses, creator of
Bank-teller smiles, lifter of iron, unselfconscious.

Craig van Rooyen’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Willow Springs, Southern Poetry Review, Rattle, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize.

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