The Final Morbidity of the Interior Embezzler

By Henry Taylor b. 1942 Henry Taylor

It may seem morbid of an embezzler to keep a memorandum, yet many of them do. It may be mere neatness.
-Wallace Stevens, "Surety and Fidelity Claims"

I've made a little sluice-gate in the flow
of cash across the spreadsheet on my screen.
Amid torrential chaos and foreseen
disasters it maintains its small and slow
on-off diversions, so my work can show
the delicacy of difference between
the beans I count and one uncounted bean,
and where the latter might invisibly go.

The hollowed shoe-tree, the hermetic jar
are gadgetry I might revert to yet.
There is the money of the thing, the far
secure retirement years, the deep-hedged bet,
but I love working where the unknowns are,
and writing down what I need to forget.

Source: Poetry (July 2002).


This poem originally appeared in the July 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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July 2002


After winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for his book, The Flying Change: Poems, poet Henry Taylor remarked to Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post: "The Pulitzer has a funny way of changing people's opinions about it. If you haven't won one, you go around saying things like 'Well, it's all political' or 'It's a lottery' and stuff like that. I would like to go on record as saying that although I'm deeply grateful and feel very . . .

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Poems by Henry Taylor

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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