by Lee Sharkey
What I know is that there is a mural. Was a mural.
What I heard was that there was a fax. Or a letter.
What I read was that the ruler said the letter said the mural was
“Take it down” the ruler said, I read.
What I saw was a shoemaker, his apprentice, children with lunch
buckets, one with bandaged fingers.
What I saw were flames.
What I heard was “removed over the weekend.”
What I saw were walls with spackled patches.
What I heard was the ruler’s mouthpiece saying “safe in an
What I heard the ruler say was “idiots,” “employees.”
What I said was “workers,” what I said was “stitchers.”
What I saw was slope–shouldered women holding handkerchiefs
to their faces.
What I heard was, “My mother worked . . . my father worked . . . .”
What I read was “has the right even to destroy it.”
What I saw was hands over faces, on children’s shoulders.
What I wrote was “cooperation” — two letters from “corporation.”
What I wrote was “eats its children.”
What I thought was, “In a closet, a mural does not sleep.”
What I thought was, “The only wealth that does not impoverish.”