The Key

By Tim Hayakama

Some time ago, I found a key

Along a street beneath a tree

I wondered at its owner’s plight

Was he locked out? Was she all right?

Its teeth were dull, its face worn bare

From heavy use, lacking care

What chanced it here? Had it been lost?

A thief perhaps? Thoughtlessly tossed?

The key was strange, of unknown make

A locksmith shrugged, “It’s just a fake”

But a key it is, I knew inside,

To secret places, fears, or pride

To hurts unknown, to travesties

To wanton hearts or fantasies

To devastations yet untold

To strengths renewed, feeble made bold.


Perhaps this key would allow me

To choose whatever I might be?

A businessman with wealth and fame

A forceful presence: Wall Street’s bane?

Meetings with the SEC,

Bankers, Fed, or Treasury?

Temptation strong, it called to me:

“Try me, trust me, you will see…”


So late one night, while my wife slept

Into the secret dark I crept

Up the ridge, beneath a bush

The key I groped and I did push

Into my soul. It did not sink

In pain screamed I, but did not blink

For force it in, I must I knew

Were I to gain what I’d seen true
Then slowly, inch by inch, it went

Resistant soul I made relent

The turn came easy to the right

For conscience dead, there was no fight

And in that black time, instantly

I felt a joy pang far from free

For lost was my sweet innocence:

My wife, my kids, my strong defense

Against this world that often takes

From poor and loving ones it hates


But now I’m rich so why do I care?

I have my own. I do not dare

Disturb the order that gives me

Such adulation — all for free!


The key I lost the other day

It must have fled the other way

In search of rich souls to tempt blind

Take my word, if you should find

This key, that’s nothing but a fake,

Leave it be and do not take

For though I never want for naught,

I cannot get what can’t be bought

That had I once in great supply

But for that key did set aside.

Tim Hayakawa is an accountant who blogs at

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