Volume 28, Number 4


On a mid-building floor
a coven of quants—
in monkish obeisance
to their god in the penthouse—
derive an algorithm
of computational finance,
an investment banker's
equivalent of mustard gas
that will become a directive
from Wall Street to the world;
and, in his lavish cursive,
he signs it into being
with a vintage Montblanc.

Land values and evictions
spiral in the Bay Area.
A generation of Sudanese,
lashed by malnutrition,
wait for the grain trucks.
Five thousand container ships
steam into the morning sun.

—R. A. Allen