and I didn’t know it

I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to write a poem about county courthouses.


Wood, brick, stone

Polished brass and gold leaf

Flags and charters and plaques

The hopes of the pioneers

The curses of Manifest Destiny

The records of a people

Crossing from “unorganized territory”

Into plats and plots and plans

Governance made tangible

Offices of old, renewed and reordered

Birth, marriage, death

Land, voting, taxes

Writs and torts

Redress of grievances

“We have, Your Honor”

Maintained lawn

Civil War cannon

Eponym’s statue

Seat of administration

Temple of self-governance

Edifice of America