One must have a head for figures,

interest bearing notes stuffed 

into both ears, and dollar bills 

strapped before the eyes,

to sit across from a dying man

and speak of risk and rates of growth,

to take no notice of his wife,

the words she is not speaking,

how the pools of her eyes

reflect the grim glass

of the conference table

and in the shuffling wind of numbers,

grow still as a winter pond—

how her gray hair, swept back,

tied in its perfect knot 

reveals her face

and holds tight a placid expression

that never slips—not once,

not while her husband’s yellowed hands

slide statement after statement

across the gulf 

of that lacquered mahogany,

not once showing her intolerance

for the passing of the minutes,

now, when the only risk is time,

when the only growth  

compounds beneath his skin.    

 — AE Hines

Second Place Contest Winner.  Originally published in Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Vol. II, 2017.


© 2017 by AE Hines.  All Rights Reserved.  

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