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Sometimes, glosas arrive in clusters. I don’t know why, but here is my second in as many days. What’s different about “Four Vignettes” is that they cross the border into my other self, a corporation communication consultant and author of The Corporate Storyteller: A Writing Manual & Style Guide for the Brave New Business Leader. I like the convergence and hope you enjoy this piece.


He lives not long who battles with immortals,
nor do his children prattle about his knees
when he has come back
from battle and the great fray.



They found the warrior of market share
and innovation slumped today, outside
a club called Chronos, batteries of
his heart and phone both sapped.
Stock prices dipped, then soared
when rivals no less mortal
swallowed and digested what he built.
Satellites report sightings of Leviathan,
swimming toward Southeast Asian portals.
He lives not long who battles with immortals.

The woman who was born to draw
read Plath while keeping dinners warm
for eighteen years until the father
of her sons confessed—“It’s not about
your breasts”—he wore the curdled
bouillabaisse the night he left. A squeeze
of assets paid for canvases and lessons,
but a palsy stilled her hand. There’s
nothing either spouse can do to please,
nor do his children prattle about his knees.

A son of academics fights his way
through jungles of Cambodia
to overcome the asthma caused
by politics of tenure. He is learning
from the spongy earth to breathe again
and dreams of elephants who track
like canines for remains of kidnapped
millionaires. Black-eyed village children
dance, seeing him with lungs intact,
when he has come back.

Five sisters under thirty take
the corporate world by storm with
baked goods shipped to zones
of mass disaster. Micro-loans paid
back, their faces grace the halls of Forbes
and LSE*. They speak of work as play
and profits as a joyful, yeasty, rising
harmony. We’re made of sturdy clay
that softens when we cherish time away
from battle and the great fray.

*London School of Economics


© Elaine Stirling, 2014