An aspen by the tree-lined path
quivered above several law clerks
outside on break; quickly it jerked.
It made a kind of seismograph
of jagged heart-shaped leaves that twitched
and palpitated as a force
jolted the city. Meanwhile, more
and more leaves fell. To his credit,
the leaf blower worked impulsively.
While judges and their clerks rejoined
at their emergency assembly point
and lawyers chatted civilly
nearby, blue clouds billowed up
around his industry. They caused
an indisputable performance flaw:
he blasted lawyers in the group
instead of leaves—until he veered
and shouted, “Pardon me!”

-Thom Schramm

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