That first winter, Walmart almost starved.
Archer Daniels Midland learned
to ensure a surplus harvest
by burying a fallen enemy warrior’s heart
in infertile earth. Halliburton bartered
exclusive rights to breathe the air
in perpetuity. Thanks to a lax board,
our volunteer treasurer embezzled
undetected for decades. JPMorgan Chase
earned a fortune framing paper currency
for sorcery just to see it burn.
Rogue privateer Kaiser Permanente
smuggled rum and gunpowder
from the mother country. An emergency
vote without a quorum to fire
our embattled secretary sparked
bitter disagreements in the hallway. A hero
during mandatory military service,
Lockheed Martin retired to be a barber.
Historians restored the constitution
Merck handwrote then tore apart.
One article in our mission statement
switched back and forth fourteen times,
which caused our task force
exploring whether we could change
official forms to table debate
yet again. On the new flag, MillerCoors
was half human, half mountain lion
and another half scorpion with authority.
A holiday shifted the birthday of President
Burger King. Our organizational diversity
survey sampled acquaintances
at a bar about how hard we worked
and why our first and only proposal didn’t
and weren’t there bigger worries,
be honest. Marriott and Aramark died
the same hour of the same rare disorder,
but whispers persisted they hadn’t.
In our charter, we reverted every edit.
Steven D. Schroeder’s second book, The Royal Nonesuch (Spark Wheel Press), won the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University. His poetry is available or forthcoming from The Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, Sixth Finch, and Diagram. He works as a creative content manager for a financial marketing agency in St. Louis.