The Accountant

By Julianne Di Nenna

The accountant played numbers all day.
“They speak to me,” he said, like butterflies alighting,
all plus-ed and minus-ed and multiplied and divided
on the adding machine, figures fluttered across ticker tape.
The mating call of crickets on a hot summer day,
his tapered fingers tapped on numbered keys till twilight,
they sang of a forever love affair like cicadas chirping,
except numbers turned red like backyard bonfires, dead leaves,
checks bounced, the car broke down,
groceries only minus-ed; a birthday, anniversaries,
calendar numbers that did not calculate across, only up.
Numbers punched on keys
like punching children
hard, mechanical, rhythmic.

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