O Pioneers

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, reliefthe 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.


Categories: Poetry, Selection: 2018

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