NOT IN SERVICE
In the early half-dark he saw the lit-up words progressing
toward him, the bus drove by, its stare-out windows empty.
He has settled down to the dislocation of days.
In early weeks, a constant lean to catch a ring tone,
all straightened now by the steady hush. No more juggle.
He fidgets with diary pages; pumped-up tasks fill spaces.
Then there was a glimpse of death’s door. He laughed
to see it ajar, like the toilet looking down his hall.
When the slight soiling of the day is wiped away,
he drains his whiskey-glass back to brighter times.
Mornings rang him up and out. Car delivered him
to coffee-grab then; sharp end – coal face; all the clichés.
In truth it was a stood-around office as they waited for him
to take their fingered facts and cut to the quick.
Further back he recalled his skinny starting-self.
The usual clutch of qualifications brought him to the door.
It was his square-chin thinking that got him picked.
Someone to hit the ground running - they all agreed.
And so he did, time and again – up the down escalator
and down the up. Months rolled over into years,
his fashioned smile became wrinkle-fixed.
Then board-room scuffle, a few things slipped.
Offices filled with new voices, left him outside the hum.
One-of-him stiffened-up to a business as usual,
the other-of-him slackened and stared down.
It was time at last to hit the ground.
© David Burridge