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Bill Garvey


I remember being called to the office
of the vice president of human resources
with the consultant hired just for this
occasion, who looked nothing like
George Clooney from that movie and
who told me I wasn’t a fit in their future
which made axing me as legitimate as
losing my designated parking spot.
I wasn’t allowed to gather personal
things like family photos or simply
saying goodbye, but when they took
my Blackberry (despite it holding
the details of everyone I knew) I felt
stripped of more than that job but
every job I ever had. But let me be
completely honest with you, dear
reader, I fired myself. I hated that place
and most of the people who worked
in it. I hated stepping up the worn marble
stairs to my third-floor office with its
view of the iconic New England town
and its square which was actually a circle
but I digress. I worked for the money.
I never harbored lofty dreams, had no
causes I believed in, no aspirations to do
anything other than earn since I was
thirteen stuffing fliers in newspapers,
blowing inky snot from my nose in
Uncle Ed’s pickup, him handing me
a Coke that never tasted so goddamn
good, or sixteen, unloading mangoes
and pineapples from boxcars where a
snake slunk from a crate of bananas
and slithered through the cool night
as if it was a cove in the South Pacific,
or seventeen, pumping gasoline back
when I’d smile at you as I squeegeed
your windshield. I found a job in the
Midwest with a larger company who
were awfully nice to me, but after they
walked me to my cubicle, pointing out
the Men’s Rooms and where to get coffee
I never felt more defeated in my life
working for just another insurance
company in the middle of corn and soy
which I whispered over the phone to
someone back home. The next morning
a dozen ear of corn appeared in my
cubicle with a cantaloupe the size
of a basketball and two tomatoes as
plump as the faces of newborns. Later,
I sipped wine on the deck of my
extended stay hotel, and for some
reason Uncle Ed entered my thoughts,
as did faces of motorists through
squeaky clean windshields, even
the snake made an appearance, black
and slippery as motor oil spilling into
Springfield as if it had a chance,
and I bit into the best ear of corn
I have ever had, and then, for the
longest time, I just watched the sun
go down and this amazing swarm
of swallows circle and swerve and sign
someone’s name on the horizon.

Bill Garvey's poetry has been published or is forthcoming in several journals including Cimarron Review, Rattle, Nixes Mate Review, Quiddity, New Verse News, Margie, Concho River Review, The Worcester Review, 5AM, Slant, New York Quarterly, Cloud Lake Literary and others. Bill and his wife live in Toronto and Nova Scotia. 


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