Wednesday, March 25, 2020


The interview went well,
I thought.
Then you pause for a moment,
your eyes skimming my resume,
and you ask,
why I left my former position?

Well, if you want me to be honest,
it was one of those things
where I resigned
and they didn’t fire me.
It seemed like the wisest choice
because otherwise
they might have pressed charges.

It was a normal Tuesday afternoon,
sunshine and blue sky 
filling the floor-to-ceiling windows.
We all had a deadline the next day,
so instead of chatting in the kitchenette,
we were furiously typing,
and the printer was spitting out
warm copies of our progress all day,
and we had had a meeting
that I thought had gone on a bit too long,
and I was feeling the pressure especially
because what my manager didn’t know
was that I hadn’t even started the project yet.

And not to sound egotistical,
but my part was crucial.
My part is always crucial,
even if someone else winds up
taking the credit
and getting the commission.
And I didn’t mean to procrastinate.
I don’t think of myself as a procrastinator,
but I just had a hard time getting this thing started,
and I was preoccupied with other things.
My mother being sick,
my dog with her diarrhea,
my husband being moody
and staring at his cell phone all night.

Not that that really is an excuse
for leaving things to the last minute,
but I just want to explain my state of mind,
having so much to do
in so little time
and the meeting going too long
and Monica kept sending those emails
“just checking in,”
and Lori and Sarah
sending all those inside joke emails,
hitting “reply all”
like anyone else cared,
and some construction project
going on outside
with a loud
Then my screen—my monitor—
went really dim,
for no reason at all,
and I could barely see anything,
and yes,
I tried turning it on and off again,
first the monitor,
then the whole computer,
then I tried adjusting the settings
with squinted eyes,
and I started to get a headache,
so I called Rick in IT,
but he wasn’t picking up his phone,
and I put in an urgent service ticket,
and no one was responding,
and I could feel my heart pounding faster,
and I felt a little dizzy
and realized that I hadn’t eaten anything all day.
I unplugged my monitor
and stared at the back of it
in a daze.

Monica decided at that moment
to “pop by” my office
to “see how I was doing with that report.”
So without thinking,
I hurled that monitor
in her direction,
and it loudly crashed onto the floor
near her feet.
Someone jokingly cried,
But there was no laughter,
only a cold silence.
They later told me
that I had screamed then too,
a terrible sound,
but I don’t remember it at all.

Monica pursed her lips,
turned around and walked away.
I was summoned to Tom’s office
and was told I’d be escorted out.
I only had time to grab my purse
and my potted cactus.
I was told that everything else
would be boxed up
and shipped to my house.
Suspiciously, a full package
of Milano cookies
in the second left-hand drawer of my desk
was missing, never to be seen again.

The owner of the company
had always liked me
so that was how I got that whole
“resigned, not fired” deal,
and they agreed not to harm
my future job prospects,
but that’s why I didn’t use them
as any of my references.

You are quiet for a moment,
then look down and shuffle some papers.
You thank me for my time
and say you'll get back to me soon.

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