Long Wig up on his High Chair
stares at Long Hair standing there
below him in the dock.
‘I cannot deviate from the Law,’
he says, glancing at the clock.
‘This is my decision.
Six months without remission.
Oh, and yes, with hard labour.’

‘Decision’ ‘Remission’ ‘Hard Labour’
rang the echoes round the court
as each man turned to scrutinise his neighbour.

The Judge retired.
To dinners with people of the better sort.
To bottles and bottles of vintage port.
To a Knighthood and, well, to cut it short,
to the Daily Telegraph.
On a day when, to his great surprise,
he saw his own obituary spread out before his eyes.
‘Someone,’ he said, ‘has done this for a laugh!’
intending to berate the Daily Telegraph.

The phone he found he could not lift
Arms and legs he could not shift.
Eyes stayed fixed within their sockets.
Hands were clenched within his pockets.

The world went spinning through empty space
as Long Wig sank to a dark, dark place.

Yama, enormous, long-haired and grim
turned his all-seeing eye on him.
‘I cannot deviate from the Law.
This is my decision.
Six hundred years without remission.
Oh, and yes, with hard labour.’


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