An act performed with stock props—
common avarice, preferred prayer,
garaged convertibles, arrest warrants.
Setting: a dimly-lit office—
boxed files, encrypted evidence,
accrued interest, hollowed equity.
Enter the four players—
A shroud falls after the first scene of
hushed negotiations, rash decisions,
turnaround specialists, legal execution.
Time of death? Written on a form filed by men of habit,
a notice sent to the local business rag,
a remark whispered in a pub— the company foundered.
The as-yet uncontaminated engrave an epitaph on the vault door—
Available, after the lawyers scrub out the stink of failure.
Of the stricken within— a rotting corp, with hands folded.
Recyclable employees claw into vertical positions,
managers supplicate quotations for furniture and fixtures,
founders stiffen attitudes, bury emails, spawn excuses.
Office equipment is consigned to a resting place—
disposal men grasp them by their attached cables
and file out, precisely positioning each into a black van.
Responsibility? Blame this! Blame that! Sue the consultant!
When driving by a seven car pileup, the officers direct:
move along, there are no lessons to be learned here.
Missed opportunities and fumbled execution
play no role because— well, just because.
Let’s raise money for our next brilliant idea.
— Published in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow #8 (2015)