Archive for the ‘To Be Unemployed So Early’ Category

To Be Unemployed So Early

May 7, 2010

(first printed in Life, Love and Unions, Lazara Press, 1987)

To be unemployed so early in the morning
seemed the most bizarre aspect.
After all, there must be two million of us now;
who was I to think myself different?
Did I think I would just grow arthritic and complacent
while others paid?
But still, so early in the morning?
Before coffee even?
Monday was my coffee day
and there I was, instead of making coffee,
crunching through the snow
headed for the oblivion of poverty,
unpaid mortgage, drunkenness, divorce;
a story so common or so evil
nobody writes about it.
But so early in the morning?
I had left early for the bus that morning
because of the snow,
wearing boots, with my shoes in my bag.
(I never got to change into my shoes.)
In my bag too was a vase of weekend flowers
(three daffodils and a tulip)
for my desk, to cheer me up.
But I had no desk,
and with my shoes still in my bag,
I clutched the vase in confusion,
finally putting it on Linda’s desk.
Then I went out into the snow
to find the rush hour wasn’t over yet.
I walked through the snow
thinking they could have waited until after coffee,
thinking what a freak I was
to never have anticipated
being unemployed
so early in the morning.

February, 1986

Copyright 2009, Helen Potrebenko. For permissions please visit