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   w o r k    p o e m    #4 6 2

--- C H A R L I E   O 'H A Y

It was one of those
afterthought walls
as if someone had said
we'll put it here
no, wait
maybe over there.
It was our wall, I heard you
come in each morning
that certain sound a rain-
coat makes when it slides
onto a hook.  You had
a husband in poor health
and a daughter who was ill
and you always answered the phone
as if you had arrived to find
your car in flames
or a warrant for your arrest.
You knew crosswords and comic books
you knew that Roy Rogers'
real name was Leonard Slye
and you knew that our wall 
could speak.  I couldn't hear it
but you could.  It was
singing, you said
softly at first and then louder
o the pops are sweeter
and the taste is new
shot with sugar through and through.
and you began to sing along
softly at first
o the pops are sweeter
and the taste is new
and then louder


You sang it to the coffee machine and the stapler, you sang it to the water cooler and the Board of Directors. Yours was the song of the minute the song of the century the voice of America gone dizzy like a circus bear when balancing a chair on his nose becomes too much. The ambulance crew bound your arms and legs before loading you in. I've stopped asking our wall what happened after the red lights disappeared. I cannot stand the silence.

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