Left on the Ground
By Robert Waldvogel
The time is nigh to reach for the sky. The words rotate in my mind the way the minute hand unwinds on my clock. But still, I dose… Oh, I hope my tie’s on straight… You have it already… Yes, my degree… I’m sure I can learn that job, Mr. Sir…
The token slips into the slot as I slip through the turn style but immediately circle back to where I started to retrieve the briefcase I leave on the ground.
Shattering the silence, the alarm positions my heart at the end of a tuning fork, but it fails to play the right tune-at least today.
Doused by the shower head-emitted stream, I drown in the water’s irony. Of course, it would have to rain all day, this one just to make me late.
Dawn, ordinarily opening day’s curtains to the light, only succeeds in shading the charcoal strata to smoky gray, as I creep, inch-deep, among the already employed, assaulted by the beams of light staring at me like laser eyes from the other side of the road-until the jackknifed trailer slices into my day.
Redirected to the other side, I become one of them-not in employment, but in direction-only a single exit from my goal, forcing me to bypass it the exit, that is, and not the goal-I hope! The way my heart now pounds, it will soon need a bypass of its own.
You’ll never make it now, but keep going, anyway! Imagine me-leader and led. I wouldn’t particularly want one of those jobs, much less both. Ah, but the job…
Shaking from autumn’s chill, my car penetrates the gray blur, needled by pins falling from the sky.
Ahead, ahead, but you’ve fallen behind. There it is-or was- the metallic bullet accepting its last passenger as I futilely run toward the fence, caught by the hot, carbon-laced jet blast spewed by its engines, which wrenched open my briefcase and spit its contents into the whirling, moisture-laden air.
Booming skyward, the aircraft is immediately swallowed by the sulphur sky, only to leave me with the realization that I’m left on the ground. As I snag the spilled copy of my resume with my foot to stop the wind from carrying it and my dreams away, I also realize that it is still covered with my slipper. And my pyjama leg hangs over it.
Slipping back into my car, it feels strangely like my bed.
Now the alarm really goes off…
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