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David Chester

Introduction to the Late Summer Issue

During my first semester of law school, we studied a case in which a man was walking past a downtown hotel when a large piece of furniture came falling from the window of one of the upper floors and landed on him.  Predictably, a lawsuit followed.  Though the person who tossed the sofa from the window--employee, patron, interior decorator--was never identified, the hotel was found to be liable for the injuries since the specific "culprit" was irrelevant to the legal analysis: the hotel had a legal duty to make sure that settees couldn't be hoisted from windows onto the heads of passersby.  Period.  All that the pedestrian--or his surviving family--had to prove to win their case was that the furniture fell from the hotel window and hit him.  This is known as the theory of res ipsa loquitor: the thing speaks for itself.  I bring this up not because the phrase appears in Rachel Flynn's wonderful poem, "Red Brick Hungry," but because there is little I can say to expound upon the poems and short-shorts contained in this volume.

The work speaks for itself.

Nonetheless, my being trained in the practice of law prevents me from holding my tongue without adding that, of the great many wonderful submissions I received, my fancy was arrested by Steve Bellin's moving poems on crime and punishment; John E. Branseum's stark work on lawlessness; Mark Budman's surprising short-short portraying a lawyer's home life; Claudette Cohen's painfully truthful look at law, politics, and human desire; Brandon Cornett's whimsically haunting tale of a life after law; Rachel Flynn's generous poetic journey through the law and all places near and far; Hooshla Fox's clever short-short on the law's pushing people to their limits; Michael Ives' views of time measured by justice and laws immutable; Kate Lutzner's poignant look at victimization; Valerie MacEwan's amusingly truthful look at small-law-firm life; John Poch's what-I-wish-I'd have-said run-in with the law; Tracy Scarpino's delightfully imaginative short-short on a law of physics; Richard K. Weems' absurdist imprisoned duo; and Joan Wilking's child's-eye-view.  The work is imaginative, truthful, funny, tragic and, above all, it speaks for itself. 

So, enjoy it, and I'll shut up now.


David Chester is a poet, an actor, and a lawyer, in that order.  He lives in Florida with his poet wife and objectively adorable genius daughter.

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