THE NUMBERS

The wasted cityscape below

has more abandoned homes

than any budget

could afford to tear down

So they rest there

the way we all do eventually

empty of everything

but memories

The calamity has trickled 12 stories up

to the high-rise copper tower

with all the empty offices

Gleaming smiles with missing teeth

The lawyer has no admin

just an outer room where

we set our coats on chairs

It looks like people have melted

leaving only their outerwear

Behind a sparse desk he sits

& explains the concept of bankruptcy

It is important that we grasp

the numbers

the difference between

Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

I don’t understand

He explains again

I still don’t understand

& he gets mad

You’re not listening he snaps

I give him 3 pieces of paper

my expenses

my assets

my debts

You’re missing a piece of paper he says

Your income

I have no income I say

He smiles & says

O yes you do

I haven’t had a job in 13 months

You have a pension & unemployment?

Yes

It takes half my pension

to cover my family’s healthcare

Because I have a pension

they cut my benefits in half

Out of that they garnish

my ex’s spousal support

If I do any work

they cut my benefits altogether

I am broke

in debt

underwater

& about to lose our home

You call that income?

Outside the high window

Detroit is bone cold

so we sit in his small office

as if we were trapped

To him this is entirely routine

You had a severance? he asks

Yes & I tell him the figure

And where did That go?

It was the thing he did with his mouth

after he asked that question

That was when I decided

to fire him

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One Response

  1. Terrific. I knew where you were and how you were and why you were. And cheered at the end. I hope this chapter passes quickly for you. Love, C.

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