They were in a different conversation altogether.

“You will be charged interest, then you will be charged

interest on the interest, then interest on the interested interest,

and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. In this way

will there be commerce between us.”

It was like the first thought she ever had.

The flare of the arms on the accented syllable,

the affected redundancy, the apparently arbitrary allusion.

At age four she was prescribed medicine and advertisements

and told to be more selective in her direct address.

By age ten she wore sunglasses and walked with a cane.

She met others so affected. They explained, “All avenues

lead to the venue pre-selected by the bearded avatars

among us, i.e. there is no escaping the escape.”

She agreed with the term ‘avenue’ and then walked on.

This is how the conversation began.

Dan Hoy

before and after