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The Germans fly in the day before

and get the hotel rooms promised to the Palestinians.

The Bolivians are nervous but expectant,

having promised not to make a scene this time.

 

They say that money isn’t passionate but

you can see the way it pulses

in the groin of the rich country

right before it expels a big aid package

 

into the groin of the needy secondary country

and how the face of the senator flushes and glows pink

as he bends to sign the paper

for the symbolic transfer of the funds.

 

Have you ever heard the sound a peso makes

when it scurries inside a euro and holds still?

or the chamber music of distant dollars turning

into zlotys into Deutschmarks into yen?

 

It is a symphony now being played

by an orchestra of diplomats on corporate cello,

whose strings are numbered bank accounts

plucked by supercomputer fingers.

 

At night, if you put your ear against the sidewalk

you can hear the clean rustle of the cash

rushing through the pipes,

pouring from one vault to the next,

 

into bigger and bigger pockets.

It was all designed so long ago, no one

remembers why—to keep misery organized?

In the mansions on the hill

 

the rich are taking showers:

turning the handles of silver faucets

to get a clean cold gush of cash. Over and over

they come out on the balcony to wave, or make a speech,

 

and there are roses in their cheeks:

crushed hopes

which changing hands has turned

into the fragrance of fresh flowers.