My supervisor called this morning to tell me
that my physical presence is required in the office
at 8:00 AM. Like all of a sudden. Fast like blue-bolt
lightning cracking the trunk of a maple tree. I hear
a cave woman grunting on the other end, campfire
sizzling, pots and pans click-clacking. I’m having
trouble hearing the house wren on the other side
of the window pane. She’s probably telling me
about worms and beetles and other birds, who’s doing what.
It’s our thing. I’ve been waiting for this day, swallowing
my saliva, pushing it back into the part of my throat
that is black and numb. My brain remembers little.
I see my name plaque on the office door. It means
nothing, that antiseptic stall with four walls, countless
bottles of hand sanitizer, two-inch photos of my pets
and family. I imagine that they wear sour faces like
someone told them to smile when they really didn’t
want to. I told her thanks for the warning and that I’d
definitely think about it.