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Practice

We learned law was a calling
to build the new Jerusalem.
No one taught about the galleys
where the ancient craft is plied:
up, back, down, pull,
up, back, down....Keep your time
in six minute segments, a shit's
a billable event. What matters
is will it work, and what's the risk.
Remember, rainmakers make partner.

You need not ship in law firms long
before your eyes burn reading briefs,
head throbs tracing labyrinthine codes
eighty hours a week
and conscience coarsens
grinding daily between the tholes
of what's allowed and client wants
as callus by callus you sweep into the dark.

("Practice" appeared in PN Review, January-February 2015.)