The Rule Against Perpetuities
by Robert K. Omura
A life must be the measure of even legal fictions,
the dabbed ink runs deep, grinds bones to seed,
settles secessions, sometimes,
the gentle tails of fees hacked off, simply;
ah, but the dead, like Shelley, still speak,
always making their mortmain pleas,
determined or inchoate, but vestable nevertheless
their long letters reaching from beyond the grave.
But who owns the day?
Circle it in red ink on a map,
mark its distance with stakes and laser-surveyed lines,
precise blocks outlined in erasable pencil
or digitized in quartz
weigh its worth in gold, sell each green moment
out from the back steps of a marche ouvert,
beside chopped up tiger paws and bear's feet
eaten raw or boiled.
Time is bought and sold, traded like extinction,
and the dead and dying dream, too.
But what if all of Blackacre is indeterminable?
Even perpetual fictions have their limits;
where the best laid plans, fail and flail,
like Chernobyl or Bhopal or the Love Canal,
and the golden sunset is strip mined and emptied of light
the jewelled earth remains vested.
Yet when remaindermen drop like flies
the remainders never divest back to the earth;
see, stewardship always has a price
and everyone knows, even cemeteries are owned.
Bio: Robert K. Omura lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he practices law. He is active in education, law reform, the environment and the outdoors. His fiction and poetry appears in anthologies, literary magazines and ezines. In April, 2008, he read his work on CBC Radio for National Poetry Month. He is currently working on a novel.