The Lawyer-Poet

I wanted to echo Todd Zywicki’s recommendation of the First Things profile of Michael J. Astrue, the lawyer and head of the Social Security Administration, who is also an award-winning poet (under the pen name A.M. Juster). I’m now reading Juster/Astrue’s The Secret Language of Women, and much liking it. In particular, let me suggest Echo and Moscow Zoo:

We saw the mass grave at the Moscow Zoo.
A sullen man dug up a human skull
Then held it high for journalists to view.
Forensic specialists arrived to cull
Remains and clues from this forgotten plot
On which the zoo still plans to cage a bear.
The experts guessed these prisoners were shot
For special reasons; no one was aware
Of comparable scenes at urban sites.
No one knew if these bones belonged to spies,
Suspected Jews or zealous Trotskyites.
So none of us displayed the least surprise
When bureaucrats emerged from quiet cars
To hint this might have been the work of czars.

The poem apparently refers to this incident.