What is the point of money? said the leopards
at work on the still quivering gazelle.
The gazelle looked at the sky, as if contemplating
the afterlife. Then it closed its eye.
All its verdant afternoons among the foliage
were not even memories anymore. Zero.
What is the point of a salary?
The camera crew, hiding in the tall grass,
recorded the scene. First there was one leopard,
then there were two. When the meat
stopped shuddering, the leopards left,
and three jackals, skulking by the waterhole,
ate next. What is the point of currency?
Zero point. Then came spotted hyenas,
white-backed buzzards, pincered water beetles.
The camera crew sat in the tall grass
eating sandwiches. They’d had a good day’s work,
for which they’d be well paid.
The leopards circled them hungrily.
There are, the leopards said, economies
greater than those you think you know.
A camera remembers everything
you tell it to remember, but it has no
ideas. Now, it recorded the gazelle’s bones,
mostly stripped of gore. The camera crew
packed away their equipment. The leopards
watched them closely. The gazelle
had zero left to spend.
Copyright © 2021 Kevin Prufer
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.