Poem by Jack Powers


Mr. Ames
bled into his pants
he sat in his little office
kitty-cornered with open door
so he could overlook the typing pool
all those young, hard-working secretaries,
under his watchful, diligent eyes
Mr. Ames felt a strange sensation in his stomach, his bowels,
and as he sat over a pile of credit statements
blood began to seep into his underwear,
with a picture of a company oiltanker beside the plague
for forty years’ service on his otherwise bare walls
in his small credit manager cubicle
he felt the warm flood fill his seat and begin to drip down his legs
and he ignored, rustled his papers, pulled out another account
kept rereading the top page until he finally slumped forward
on the desk, breaking his eyeglasses
they carried him through the office on a stretcher later,
covered with a green sheet, a pen was still clenched in hi shand
but he hadn’t written anything and he was dead when they arrived
at the hospital
and two days later on the elevator I noticed
on the fourth floor listing of department heads,
his name was scratched out in pencil
there was no new name yet
the typists were still typing
and the office in the corner smelled of Lysol.


Photography © Juliet Stone
Photography © Juliet Stone


Jack Powers (1937-2010) founded Stone Soup Poetry on May 1, 1973. Today’s poem first appeared in issue 15 of Stone Soup, an archived journal he self-published.


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