At Work

This poem first appeared in print in the Spring 2018 issue of Evening Street Review. Order a copy now for 2018 delivery.

At Work

Sometimes we hold the door for each other
if someone is following close enough, or fumbles
for an ID badge. But it requires a “good morning”
and some eye contact. I try to avoid that

much personal exposure early in the morning,
before a Diet Coke, before browsing through
whatever safe for work websites not blocked
by security policies, before I settle

into crafting the day’s marketing plan.
A blueprint, like the one you might use to
build a cabinet, as if you were to carefully
slide your fingers over each long board,

selecting the best ones, then cutting
each to an exact length, precisely carving
your dado grooves before fitting the next piece,
a hammer and some nails, then

sanding all its sides smooth as
evening sky, finally placing the cabinet
in the corner of your kitchen where it
would hold an old stereo and your wife’s recipes.

My plan places idle thoughts and memes
in your head, things you were already thinking
about products you didn’t know you wanted.
I stand at a raised desk as I do this,

we all do, because Sitting is the new
smoking and the company cares about my health
which is kind but as I look across the top
wall of the cubicle at the eyes watching my efforts

I wish I could bow my head towards a workbench,
put my hands on what I make, turn it slowly
in my grip, stroke its shape with my fingers,
package it safely, send it into the world.

Copyright © 2018 Jeff Nesheim | All Rights Reserved
First appeared in Evening Street Review.

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