Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mostly a true story


At fifty-two, he washed the company out of his life
with Gilbey’s. I never met him, just heard of his adventures:
the budgets padded to soften the clatter of minibar bottles
into gray wastebaskets, forming sticky glass mountains
from San Jose to Wichita to Charlotte, atop one of which
his body was bent, two days dead, a week before the
quarterly report.

Three years later,
the 2003 Pontiac Bonneville still hunkers in the corner
of the lot: gold-green with pollen, its windows
pigeon-dotted, its front vanity plate slightly dented.

I’m going to dent it again. I feel no pity
for the plaid scarf that droops over
the passenger headrest where a head
never rested, the jowly tires, the yellow ribbon
glued on the back glass. This sad man,
given the company passed from son to son,
left it dispirited, twitching. The underling
who hired me was fired a week later.
The work is too disorderly to pack into
a boulder to push up the hill.
I was promised parking. Five years dead,
this fallen leader
still takes up space.

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