Be Careful What You Ask For
by Robert Wood

“I’ll die at my desk,”
he said to his client as they grazed the buffet
in the suite high above the first base line.
The client nodded approvingly
as if that is what he expected
or even wanted.

“They’ll carry me out feet first,”
he continued, thinking he had made an important observation.
“My paralegal will know I’m gone before my wife,”
he said, identifying each by status and not by name
As if they were fungible parts.
Then he skillfully maneuvered the conversation,
but not to the unnoticed game below.
He subtly bought up the current deal,
thinking he could convert this client development time
into billable hours.

“He’ll die at his desk,”
said his wife to the empty room.
Remembering when he had no desk
and when they ate Ramen noodles
and played bridge
and danced
and made love.

“He’ll die at his desk,”
said Julie, holding back tears.
She seldom saw him, hardly knew him
But wanted to believe him when he said he would be there.

Instead there was a call, the same old call
The “something came up” call.
He was never there.
He was back behind his desk.

“He died at his desk,”
said his granddaughter
closing her eyes
trying to remember him


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