December 18, 2015


respect, communication, integrity, excellence
(for Sherron Watkins)

-tiny town of Optimism, population 6,000
-responsible for each other’s children
-a bite of ice cream sandwich
in the year of whistleblowers

why didn’t you just leave?

-do something right about wrong
from west coast to east
-remaking itself every seven years
innovation always

dark side of innovation is fraud
-too creative. never uninspired
-demoralized, I led the effort of invincibility
bright and sharp but crossed a line

-I pushed back, reprimanded
-took cover, switched positions
divisions comfort group think
-corporate mask kept

from digging deeper
{{respect communication integrity excellence}}
-value cracks in our façade
evil empire reputation

-crashing, eliminated hedged
with raptors
-rafters paper structure
paper companies

see circular, hidden losses
-shocked me to my core
-future market price like water
through a sieve

what was going on in the pit of your stomach?

-market panic
we will implode
-can those of us who’ve not grown
rich afford to stay?

-our value system messenger
would not be shot
-naive to the point of stupidity
grown up a lot since when

-I wanted to be sure
he took me seriously
-my analysis come clean
-I was moved downstairs

with rental furniture
-no real work to make me uncomfortable
-in December the ship sank
I got as much cash as I could

-opened cloud of witness
weight that burdens
-the race marked out for you
-so many villains made me a heroine

-choices I made sent an early grave
stressed execs die every day
-I should have gotten more
people to go with me

BETSY FAGIN is the author of All is not yet lost (Belladonna, 2015) and Names Disguised (Make Now Press, 2014) as well as a number of chapbooks. She is the current editor of the Poetry Project Newsletter.

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