NPM – 18 of 30

what do you make of a day
that begins deciding if
you’re well enough to
return to work

you do

your ten years of working
is celebrated with the
head honchos and others
who have also endured
for a decade

you eat mediocre pizza
and must recount how
you came to work there
then share a favorite story

because you are who you are
your voice almost breaks in
recalling this past portion of
your life in some pithy story

it’s not that you’re terribly emotional
about this position, it’s that you want
to do a good job, even at this awkward
task, and the responsibility of it
almost overwhelms you

you finish

listen to other stories, collect
your crystal award, and return
to your desk, where you have
been invited to be a featured poet
at a new reading

you accept

you leave early to attend
to a yearly exam, the walk
down the corridor seems
so long, you feel grateful
you only have to come here
once a year

you undress

you are glad that the
technician is nice, encouraging
(again with the need to
be praised for a good job!)
but it always works, you
feel like you nailed
the way you held your arm
so she could press your flesh
flat to check for abnormalities

you dress

an hour to get home
your neighborhood alive
with baseball & sunshine

you walk

and now here you are
baseball outside your door
work open in the
next computer window
reality game shows
a click away

but first this poem
this snapshot
this recounting
of a day