Measure of a Venture Capitalist

Measure of a Venture Capitalist

When you bought my first book you were couchsurfing.
To not be burdened with the the thing as object,
you left it on a bookshelf at a cafe. Coffee cup rings and resident cats.
You sent me a cameraphone pic so I could wish it well.

Something about the silver dash
to make a startup a syndicate. That decade
when you were really in it, that you could score
a flight attendant girlfriend—You showed me
photographic proof, stating her measurements as if
off a baseball card; your actual surprise
that I was apoplectic instead of impressed.

You bragged your Acura never needed its oil changed.
The wall I looked at, populating
my synapses with all the people who’ve bused
your oil, your drink, your twentieth floor view—lost
for nonpayment. The way, even when low, you

eviscerated waiters.

I heard a poet tell the Indian story of how the woodpecker
gave humans the flute, pecking the air holes expertly.
In gusts of grief I’ve been with videos of whites policing Black bodies, say
their names…, stats of COVID deaths
and I feel the woodpecker

a flute hole
a void
unseen like
the ozone hole
over Australia
a void
even as
the woodpecker
works and it widens
it moves unseen
givers and takers
cowboys and anarchists
someone fitting
the description
on their way home
say their names…
widening unseen
as if the woodpecker
knows we’re blowing it.

Nesting on my couch, your phone was your church as you
were a true believer, devout that some soon ringtone
would have you back in and on a plane
to Australia or Paris. A stroke

ended your call.

In my final tally, I think you’d be fine with my calculation that,
though not a person of influence, nor holdings so much as a book,
as a flute hole made by a woodpecker expanded to take you in,

you were a person of faith.

What are you looking for?