Sunday, July 10, 2011


Editor's note: "Your assets are listed on one side of the sheet, and your liabilities on the other," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "I guess you're not supposed to add them together."

My banker said he'd like to have
A statement, up to date,
So he could see, in black and white,
My true financial state.

The numbers didn't seem to make
A bit of sense to me;
I didn't have a bottom line,
As far as I could see.

To solve the whole dilemma,
It was clear the only way
Was to give the whole kaboodle
To the local CPA.

How that fellow pawed the dust
Was something else to see;
At handling figures, he could make
A monkey out of me!

He noted what my income was,
And showed how much I spent;
He spelled it out, precise and clear,
Where every nickel went.

He showed a right substantial sum,
There on the bottom line;
But then, he went and spoiled it
With that ugly minus sign!

--Eighty After Eighty (1995)

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