Ode to John Rawls’ Theory of Justice


The legalities were with me long ago, even on that country road where the other day-campers and I were marching from waterhole lip to creek. No names for all that green salad to the side of the road. We were boys. It was just salad. The weekend was maché and dried berries. All Memorial Day, the ants crawl over macaroni salad, its old battles. I actually am not nostalgic for a world before language which might as well be dark chaos. I like when one old silver-haired lady says to another one, plumper and plainer: “You do look like you got a bit of sun in Florida.” The whole point of a good class I took at Fordham was that Antonin Scalia was a shit-for-brains, and kind of mean, with a judicial philosophy like a built-in genetic predisposition to heart disease. To remove a nostalgia for wordlessness is not my aim. Yesterday, I found some starter slugs under the seedling cups. To bring a beefsteak tomato planter onto this patio is to invite a large dog into our lives. There’s a real botanist— “What do you do?” “I’ll tell you”— at the community garden whose strawberries are original intent like somebody saw the old guy’s pecker fall out of his swimming suit and just stopped talking then.

DAVID BLAIR was born in 1970. He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has degrees from Fordham University and the creative writing program at UNC Greensboro. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Fence, The Greensboro Review, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Verse, and been featured in the anthologies Zoland Poetry and The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. He is an associate professor at The New England Institute of Art in Brookline, Massachusetts. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his wife Sabrina and daughter Astrid.