Gains & Losses
What He Wouldn't Be Thinking About

How he'd leave the office,
drive aimlessly around the city,
creditors' calls still ringing in his ears.
How he listened to the radio for news
that the whole business world had caved in.
But the news was the same as the week before,
and the week before that.
How he sat at the lunch counter,
watching the waitress,
hearing her patter with the regulars.
For her,  another day.
How he asked each employee
to come into his office,
one by one.
            Packing boxes alone,
loading them into the station wagon,
waiting in the empty office
for people to buy the last
of the typewriters,
the old wooden waste baskets,
hating their questions:
What happened here?
What will you do now?
How he told himself
things could be worse.
How in a way he felt
How someone said,  Remember,
Ted Williams struck out
seven hundred times at bat.
How it hadn't helped.
He'd turned his back now
and wouldn't be thinking of that.


Copyright 2009,  John Sangster

John Sangster's poems have appeared in Shark Reef,  an online magazine;  numbers three, five and six of Pontoon,  an anthology of Washington State poets (Floating Bridge Press);  and What Have You Lost? Poems Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye (Greenwillow Books).  His chapbook,  Island Year,  was published in 2008 by Pudding House Press.

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