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Editors --- "Poems by MTC Cronin" [2004] AltLawJl 36; (2004) 29(3) Alternative Law Journal 134


The law of evidence (intellectual)

No one knows what the laws are. That there are laws we know, by the daily burnings, if nothing else.

Anne Carson;

TV Men: Sappho

In-our fireplace we are burning wood -

300 years old and embedded with square-headed


and its own splitting, the gentle and slow rub of


along its straight back rising orange and upright

as if drawn toward some higher place that awaits

all courage.

And when she speaks her lips curve upwards.

This fire is brave to love this wood

because other fire has preceded it, the planks

collected from a house round the comer which burned but not

to the ground.

And he looks away.

I will call it the second burning

and this burning, evidence,

that intellectual conquest

of time.

And ash? he says, and misses her smile, what is to ·

Be born.

And ash, she says, evidence of evidence,

of what came before,

no more-

The law of evidence (litigious)

Daughter is derived from the verbal root, duh, to


Is this burnt stick, wood or bone?

He claimed on the one hand to be the dead girl's


yet while she lived he denied paternity.

Do we have an expert to tell us

at what temperature bone turns to ash?

She is the dead girl's mother, that one sitting


not smiling.


What is being described here bears no


to what really happened.

The moment of love?

The conflagration?

The house stood for three hundred years.

Her eyes were a colour none could agree on.

Does anyone here know

what these questions are trying to elicit?

The term, father, is rarely applied to animals.

The law of evidence (poetically)

...and she said, my belly.

And he said, could have been anyone.

Her eyes are like the man's

her mother smiled at

before she was born.

Is green just a species

of blue?

What is meant

by animal?

The fire in her eyes is like that

in the man's who looked away from her mother's smile.

Daughter means derived

from another, could have been anyone.

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