polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
A Coworker Commits Suicide and They Call
us in the office, all of us piled in,
chairs that creak, creak, the sound
like we’re sitting on lobster shells,
all this creaking, enough to drive
you mad, and the speaker comes in,
some woman I’ve never seen in
my life and she says that Chad
has committed suicide. Who’s
Chad? She says she wants us
to know that she’s always here
for us. Who is she? A cow-
orker whispers to me, Pay us
more, we won’t kill ourselves
then. The CEO is a billionaire.
The woman in front of us has
a purse that looks like it’s worth
as much as sixteen of our souls.
Someone coughs. We get no
benefits, no medical no dental
no mental health. But she’s
here for us. Who is she?
Ron Riekki’s books include I have been warned not to write about this (Main Street Rag), My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle/Small Press Distribution), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press).