The Old Man and the Wealth of Nations

this old man walked up to me

upon exiting the restroom

at the entrance of a clinic

and asked me if i’d read

the wealth of nations

by adam smith

i responded i had not

as he seized the reigns of the conversation

guiding us

on a torrential path

careening

headlong

into the rocks

he said that free trade

was the worst sin ever committed

and cursed the chinese

calling them dirty

nasty people

that ate bats

he kept at this tangent

obsessively dissecting the dietary habits

of people he’d never met

holding his own

unseemly customs

in the highest regards

he seemed to be anchoring

his casual bigotry

upon presumed economic principals

in an attempt to detract

from his biting words

and hateful disposition

towards our neighbors

in the east

as another patient entreated upon the premises

he grew more listless

his words quieter

and less frequent

and he backed slowly

towards the automatic door

exiting to the parking lot

sometimes

animals

are merely feigning death

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