I called him my judge
Not the judge
Because when I was a law clerk
Getting him coffee
Researching his opinions
Following him as he went in and out of the courtroom
In his black robes
I adored him. I mean
He was brilliant, a first amendment scholar, a star
Full of portly bonhomie
A native son from the wrong side of the tracks.
He smoked cigarettes with flair
Told filthy jokes and war stories.
He once asked me early on
What I thought he would be if he wasn’t a judge
I think he wanted me to answer, a senator, a professor
Something like that
But I said, a bartender.
Because he was Irish and drank whiskey and was convivial.
A few years later when I was a lawyer
Too many cigarettes, too much whiskey
Too much bonhomie.
Probably too much adoration.