She said I should wait for her call.
I sat watching the phone, worried.
She and I didn’t get along, that’s true.
When she rang, I knew where she
was going as she proceeded to commend
me for traveling 30 years on behalf
of the company, the hundreds of places
visited, distances and structures achieved.
The note I wrote was: Here it comes.
Surprisingly, just then, a drop of blood
landed on my shirt. Sniveling,
I grabbed my nose, dropping my notes.
She said, Times requires action,
and with my hire, we’re moving –
starting now in a different direction.
So, you can leave, or be fired,
or announce your retirement
in a few months – so as to train
the next trailblazer, I believe,
we need. But don’t tell old stories
of past success. Focus instead
on what’s ahead. We want new paths
to reach the bright future I’ve mapped,
and not the retreading of old trails
that never last. Trails, I had cut
now trivial in her vision
to somewhere I no longer cared.
Choosing my only choice, I felt
nauseous, wasting my life
to find possible routes for her
and others too, all of the rest.
Pioneers, all, pointing to plans
that evolved into ruts and dust.
What next? What direction to take?
Alone at my desk, head held back,
tissues of bright red blood mixing–
with pulses of anxiety—
anger, relief—the urge to scream:
I am free! Free!
Outside, cold, gray clouds disagreed.
Tree-tops, in shock, shook the frail sky.
Tall pines, bent low, swallowed their pride.