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We huddle,
The ink-stained, the dirt-streaked,
The spreadsheet shell-shocked masses,
Empty executives, dissatisfied dentists,
A legion of unfulfilled laborers.
Hunched backs, but twinkling eyes,
Groans of exhaustion, sighs of relief.

A symphony of settlement, a chorus of good-enough,
And everybody sings. What else is there to do?
Sheet music provided upon entry through the door,
Taught the notes and melodies right after they sever the cord,
We strum the strings in concert, never daring to digress,
Everything’s easy this way.

It starts with silence, fragile calm, hesitant patience.
Muffled mumblings, itches scratched,
Restless feet shuffle, the main course impending.
Then, vox dei, a scythe cutting through the roof,
Light streams from the ceiling, cuts through the sickly coughs.
Among the arthritic throngs a gaping maw breaks through the floor,
Spits forth its scarlet tongue,
Splits the sea of self-loathing subjects,
Equator of ousted egalitarianism,
Primus Meridianus animus mortui.

And all are transfixed.
From menopausal mothers to fresh, fleshy fledglings,
Tea sippers, tragics, coffee drinkers, comedians,
Patchouli oil and gunpowder.
The new self paraded down the crimson carpet,
Eyes locked on the dances, the fashions,
the inside jokes and standards,
Not daring to avert our sight
Lest we miss something new.
What else do we have?

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