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Wednesday, May 08, 2013


by Matthew Hummer

We sit in plastic chairs in a hotel
conference room, overflow
for the flood of contracts ruptured
while Wall Street and Washington
bought  “get out of jail free.”

The judge grills a mechanic: his assets,
tools, tow truck, garage, lift
will liquidate to satisfy the banker’s need.
We are all next.                              
    The judge calls
a name.  Consuela walks to the front
and sits at the table, skirted for brunch.
We hear her debts read aloud—
the public shaming the Constitution allows,
having banned debtor’s prison.
The officer of the court rattles off names
like a hostess calling parties for seating.
I tell my wife to remove her rings.
We take our turn at the stocks,
and then slip out the side door,
 without looking back at the rest,
debtors, whose communion we’ve joined.

Matthew Hummer is a teacher, father, and husband.  He is also an M.F.A. candidate in Creative Writing at Sewanee, The University of the South.