Alice O. Howell   




                Call him a tycoon, he likes that


in fact, he is a jovial swindler


            and his signature on contracts


looks like a grapevine



            he has a big belly and dainty toes


everything is on the up and up


      and laughter sweeps away the rest



at noon, the sun shines on the hard polish


            of the desk and on a harder heart



the office is at Olympian heights


      and the hovels are far, far away


the buttons on the inter-com are red and gray



sometimes he fingers them, whispering


            hire!  fire!  hire!  fire!


somewhere his mother weeps for him in Hades


            knowing Charon is bringing him black death


                                    before long.