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Archive: Contents of American Haibun & Haiga Volume 1

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Judson Evans

Economies of Scale

It never completely dries--the indelible, infinitesimal ink stains bonding sweat and bacteria, perfume, cocaine, green webs and autographs, eyes and pyramids to the palms of our hands . . . .

Once looking out a subway window, I saw a man fumble his gorged wallet and lose to a gust of wind a flurry of large bills. The recovery on the platform was choreography for gray suited soloist and a core of bystanders who seemed to radiate and draw to his center like a swirl of metal filings to a magnet. As if it were a shooting, as if he had been shot many times and his blood were spilling . . . Some froze in their distant stations, some began to stir in seemingly random dust devils, others came to gather and salvage his blood, went down on their knees to bring the soiled blood back to his dying body, unafraid of being drenched, stained by its impurities. And when they came to him, he was the wise husbandman who had given each a talent which each was now duly rendering back.

There were once economies in which nothing was lost forever. I remember from childhood an older boy with a machine like a small toothed grinder, whose gears sparked and whirred. Doing as we were told, subjects in the experiment, the group of boys and girlsformed a circle, hand in hand, until the last child took the handle that gave the shock. Its blunt needle went right through us, knitted our small bones for just that second. The circle broke. Some crying, some laughing. Thirty years later I can almost remember their names, their faces on the currency.

trading faces
of dead presidents
for sweetness


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