Initial Public Offering

Poetry by Richard Cole

In our cubicles at dawn, staring at monitors. Four hours ahead, the New York market is opening. We lean forward. Our baby offering, dear God, make it happen. Numbers start crawling across the bottom of the screen. Our stock opens and the price declines, unsteady, then it gains 2  dollars.


The floor trembles.


For a moment, the market ponders, watching itself. The stock ticks, ticks, ticks,  ticks up 5 dollars … 8 … then 12 and surging now, gaining traction and we take a breath and everyone starts talking ….


On the roof, the bright sails flair open

and belly tight in the wind, cables humming,

and our building lurches, starts to move,

grinding forward with the windows shaking,

market numbers climbing on top of each other

and we’re cheering now and the building scrapes

across the lawns of the office park, leaving raw earth

and tiny figures running through the parking lots,

shouting and waving their papers,

and our building advances across the freeway,

cars screeching, slamming into each another

as we pass like a grand hallucination, like a dinosaur

crushing the bridges, red lights flashing

and then suddenly it’s silent. We’re aloft

and rising, power lines dangling

beneath us like wild nerves, broken pipes

spitting and swaying in the wind.


Everyone stands at the windows, unbelieving.

The CEO clears his throat. His eyes glitter

kindly as he stirs his coffee and gets up to speak.

“A billion per year,” he says.


A hush fills the room. Our eyes shine like his

and our minds are racing as we calculate options,

and he talks and talks us higher, our dreamweaver,

our knight of faith, and the stock keeps rising

and we’re sailing faster and we all grow silent,

staring in wonder as the clouds rise up

before us, massive and brilliant, like solid rock.

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