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Insurance by David Starkey
published in Volume 5, Issue 3 on September 1st, 1998

From my window I can see the pastel
post-modern corporate headquarters
of Wang International, and the houses
of poor Mexican families across
the street. I'm an insurance man.
Nights, I have scrutinized the Labor Code,
but the thrill of the business world
didn't last long. I can't sit still
for five minutes together, but I am rooted
in this life by what must pass anywhere
for plenty.
                 The typewriter
worries me on weekends.

My rural university's required poetry
course was taught by a man
who had published in all the best reviews
for thirteen years and had one thin
collection to show for it.
In class his skeletal hands trembled
as he scanned Rape of the Lock
on the blackboard. He stuttered
when replying to our stupid questions,
yet a more world-weary doodler
was never found in all the 18th century.
A nervous sort, he might be an artist,
but he would never be much
of a breadwinner. The cover
of his book showed a Rococo clock--
Cupid fingering Psyche's chin
                     The light shifts.
I clasp my hands and wait
for the self-destructiveness to pass.
It always does, then I remember
I have food and warmth,
and, somewhere, friends. We each shelter
our interests as best we can.
Down on the street, the homeless shriek
and push their shopping carts to the sea.

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