They’re seated like justices, tapping their microphones,
raising their tiny gavels, setting them down again.
In the space set for the accused, I sometimes sit in spotlight,
other times a shameful darkness in a hat made for women fools.
They have their questions: How long do I plan denial? Have I considered
self sacrifice? What about that one who hummed a little while he slept?
They stir like molecules, nod their agreement or dissent––
When the door opens, it’s the one on the end who must leave.
The others glance the space she leaves behind, some weep,
some make whispers, all turn their hollow eyes back to me.
Katy Richey’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Fjords Review, RHINO, The Offing and other journals. Her manuscript Into the Bluest Part was selected for an honorable mention for the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize by Nikky Finney. She is the recipient of a 2015 Fine Arts Work Center Walker Scholarship for Writers of Color and a 2014 Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award. She has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops and The Cave Canem Foundation. She hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series open mic at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., sponsored by Split This Rock Poetry Festival.