Justice may appear in the
guise of a hard, devious mother
I want shoes for my baby
son my werewolf son

None of you can sing a song
The best you can do is breathe
every breath opining
following the prescribed instrument

which is now a hatchet
Justice has Egyptian hair because
you’ll be dead; she wants ten
dollars from you; I’ve offered mine

None of you sing; you beg for each
other’s love in chopped-up phrases:
every breath opining a duty to
the gods of the times, whose times

Justice isn’t a pleasant woman
Her baby has a wolfish face that only
I could love; the Egyptian gods
have animal heads don’t they: the

dead man loves Justice’s baby
Having had his soul weighed by her
Take your backpack off, it’s in the
way, she says gruffly; he plays

with her hairy baby. I’m trying
to tell you, the Law knows you’re
as wise as a wolf; only the baby
is important; only I can sing

the Law that hard and devious woman
says that this is just. You have
given birth to another wild hybrid
like yourself. I’m following you to your

heights: I’m the only intellectual
Justice says–she’s worked in peep shows–
You’ll never figure me out; but
you owe my baby, and you owe me.


No world is intact
and no one cares about you.

I leaned down over
don’t care about, I care about
I leaned down over the

world in portrayal
of carefulness, answering

something you couldn’t say.
Walking or fallen and you
   were supposed
to give therapy to me–

me leaning down
brushing with painted feathers
to the left of chance your operatic,


From Grave of Light (Wesleyan University Press), by Alice Notley © 2006.