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The Company


We believed in the company as permanent gravity,
as sacrament, and got the job done.
We were given the memo about getting it done.
But then the company changed hands.
Another, more profitable company
hoisted up a sign and told us
the product line "needed adjusting."
We were told.
And the company, like a beneficent scrim
of blackened sky, pure spaceó
we looked up into it after a hard day,
everything in it glowing and turning,
a spray of light patterned into
an elastic, expansive aura we began
to envision as living.

We listened to the forklifts whir
through the company, delivering things,
sending things away.
It sounded like a cube of restless ocean
under a coil of glistening weather.
It breathed like who we were
when we donned our protective suits
and flashed our data cards. Good morning, we said
and imagined the company's flinty, flexible shell
resembled something deep inside us.
We believed in our work
as sympathetic blueprint, as touchable.
We were alive. We had forgotten we were alive.
We believed the company was
the one thing we could believe in.


Sigman Byrd

Southwest Review

Volume 99, Number 1


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