The man swallowed
480 ball bearings.
One sphere a minute during
his last eight-hour shift.

No unemployment lines
for the human anchor
sitting upright
on the floor of the sea.

The scuba diver’s hernia
& subsequent lawsuit.
The expense to the taxpayer
for the salvage costs.

The morticians’ horror
at the chemical reactions
of rust and embalming fluid.
The family’s pained decision

for an open casket service.
The riot that ensued.
At the funeral, two
of the pall-bearers

torqued their backs.
The forklift operator,
called in at the last minute,
was drunk and uncaring.

The ball-bearing company’s
inevitable bankruptcy.
The banning of ball bearings
for public consumption.