Self Defense

When he pulled out his knife I thought I had
No choice so I pulled out my gun and shot
Him twice, then ran the streets for miles, too glad
That he lay there dead and that I did not.
I got discovery in jail and read
The coroner’s report.  It said his death
Came slow.  He bled out while I ran.  Instead
Of running miles I should’ve caught my breath
And dialed 9-1-1 so he might’ve lived.
The cops have found my fingerprints and gun.
Would he have told the cops he flashed his shiv?
I’ll never know, and now my trial’s begun.
Can’t show remorse—my lawyer says it shouts
My guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Note: “discovery” in line 5 refers to criminal discovery, whereby a defendant can obtain details of the prosecution’s case before the trial.



His Last Case

The old attorney’s case is called.  He knows
The fire in his belly’s nearly died,
Though coals remain that may be coaxed to glow,
The dwindling embers of a lawyer’s pride.
He wonders why there’s always one last case.
Is it how he maintains his self-respect,
How he delays the day he’ll have to face
A mirror bearing truths he can’t accept?
The measure of a man is what he does.
If he quits now, what then will he become?
A shadow of the lawyer he once was,
Enough pride’s left to see that duty’s done,
The toughest duty of his life in law—
“Your Honor, I move for leave to withdraw.”



Carl Kinsky is a country lawyer living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

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6 Responses

  1. Thomas

    That Was Powerful, Both Acts Were Great. It Was The Best Thing To Being There. Take Care.

  2. Roy E. Peterson

    Carl, I feel the strong empathy in both poems, the first for the person on trial and the second for the feelings of an aging attorney who believes his withdrawal is in the best interests of the client leaving the legal matter to another attorney, because he no longer feels the burning energy to pursue the case for whatever reason. Nicely done.


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