When a Quartet of Quarters Does Not Answer

A quartet of quarters is a dollar.

A dollar does not sing, although the coins ring when you drop them into a vagabond’s fiddle box.

And if, under the long shadows and orange light of morning, that vagabond fiddle is joined by a rag-haired guitar, a withered old crone of a cello, and a quavery voiced, alcoholic tenor singing “O, Danny Boy” or “Amazing Grace,” there is a quartet.

And if an old, gray-headed black man comes dancing across the orange concrete of the morning, you have a quartet with Bojangles.

Then a quartet of dollars might sing,

but it seems vastly insufficient to answer the joyousness that mutes suddenly and terribly when the door of the terminal closes between you.

And you are in an elevator-music room where the only order is the murmur of thousands of individuals scuffling toward buses

that shuttle them into the vast, noiseless day where there is only the triumvirate of boss, computer, and coffee.

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