Out of Order

From the collection And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.

Out of Order

Came to work
under the weather. Thoughts laboring
when they should be skipping. Sentences
tailing off out of focus. Aware of the foot
that hits the ground before I’m ready
the hand that meets the doorknob an instant late
but can do nothing about it.
The flow the motion of the day
it moves in fits and starts. My head aches
something fierce. I’m sure I have a fever.
I can’t work out what these papers on my desk
are wanting me to do with them. The phone rings.

I knock the pencil to the floor
I take the message down
I grasp the pencil
I arrange the paper to write

No, that’s wrong.
It’s all out of order.
I’m out of order.
I’m leaving work now.


6 thoughts on “Out of Order

  1. Days like that these days and you know you need to get home asap so as not to infect others, rest up, and get well.

    Used to be – soldier on, tough it out, don’t be a wimp, infect the world.

    • Yes, I remember in the first month of my first real adult job after college, I had to go to work sick because I had not gotten any sick days yet. It’s been 40+ years and I still remember the misery of that week.

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