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Mar 2016
Suddenly aged and prickling inside drab suit
(that fits in every way besides the one that matters),
sip stewed tea, UHT milk, and
be gracious about it.
Faces requisitioned from Head Office
ask questions like the answers you give
could possibly mean anything.
Try not to act bored or high, even though
you're both.  Pretend like
you could belong here.
Don't let on you think thoughts that are in breach of the House Style.
Don't, under any circumstances, let them
find out you write
Don't give yourself away.

Afterwards, brittle and weary outside,
notice how it feels like
your feet inside your good pair of shoes
are nailed to the asphalt reality
of this bleakly nowhere estate; you're
crucified against the
indifference of the afternoon,
bled out by another day of attempting to
sell yourself cheap and still
not closing.
You learned to walk upright for this.
Even the sun looks old and done with trying.
If a stranger offered you a cigarette right now,
would you break your two-year streak?  

The phlegmy rattle of builders' vans;
soft pale smell of saw dust on damp air;
that sense of inevitable mutual rejection.
Nico Reznick
Written by
Nico Reznick
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